Stella Lea Parks, who served on the Beaumont-Cherry Valley Recreation and Park District board and also was the first woman to serve on the board of the Beaumont-Cherry Valley Water District, passed away Sunday, Aug. 11 at her home in Cherry Valley.
Parks was 95 and would have celebrated her 96th birthday on Aug. 28.
She was born in 1923 in Atoka, Okla. to John and Alta Baxter.
They had seven children: Emmett, Jewell, Ruth, Lucille, Billie and Hobart.
Parks graduated from Tushka High School in 1943.
The family moved to San Bernardino and Mr. Baxter worked at Knudsen Creamery in San Bernardino, beginning in 1943.
Parks worked at S.H. Kress as a merchandise manager and remained employed there until she met her future husband, Jack Parks.
They married in November 1946 and the couple owned Parks Floors for 35 years.
They moved to Cherry Valley/Beaumont in 1973. Jack died in 1988.
Parks became involved in the community. She served on the Beaumont-Cherry Valley Recreation and Park District board from 1999 to 2001 and was the first female board member of the Beaumont-Cherry Valley Water District, from 2001 to 2010.
She also was Beaumont Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year and was the Cherry Festival Heritage Award winner three times. Parks also was Cherry Festival Association president.
She was a volunteer, along with her husband Jack, at the Grange in Cherry Valley and got to push the button to light up the Christmas tree at Winter Fest.
Parks also was president of the Cherry Growers Association and the Cherry Valley Chamber of Commerce.
She also participated in Hands Across America.
Parks was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, her sisters Lucille Stover, Ruth Boose and Jewell Van Duren; her brothers, Emmett Baxter and Billie Baxter. Survivors include her brother, Hobart Baxter; nieces Paula Backus, Judy Hulse and Denise Oyler; nephews John Boose, Hank Schwenckert and Douglas Parks.; and many great- and great-great nieces and nephews, and her special friends, Sharon and Lennie.
Graveside services will be Monday, Aug. 19 at 2 p.m. at Montecito Memorial Park in Colton. Arrangements are being handled by Weaver Mortuary in Beaumont.