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Laurel Jean Parks

April 24, 1931 until March 19, 2024

Laurel Jean Parks

Laurel Jean Parks, age 92, of Bentonville, passed into eternity on March 19, 2024. She was born in 1931, in Ames, IA, to Edward G. Peterson and Olive J. (Askelson) Peterson of Story City. After graduating from high school in Story City, IA, in 1949, she obtained ADA Board certification in 1955 and worked as a dental hygienist. On May 28, 1955, she married her first husband, Jack Carlton Kelley, at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Story City, IA. After losing her first husband in a work accident in 1960, she was left pregnant with her son and raising her young daughter, with the help of her parents.

Later, she married her second husband, Ryan Harvey Parks, on July 30, 1966, at St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church in Johnston, IA. Their union brought their blended families together for a total of 4 children. The family relocated to Richardson, TX in 1969, and then to Bentonville, AR in 1976. After relocating to Northwest Arkansas, Laurel worked as a Librarian at Bentonville High School in the 1980s.

Laurel enjoyed playing the piano, especially in her younger years, for church. In later years, she sang in church choir and played handbells. She loved reading novels and religious literature. For many years, she and her second husband enjoyed meeting with friends through a bridge supper club. After being widowed a second time, Laurel became involved with a widows’ lunch group, whose friendships meant a great deal to her.

Laurel was preceded in death by her first husband, Jack C. Kelley of Council Bluffs, IA, second husband, Ryan Harvey Parks of Bloomfield, IA, brother, Philip R. Peterson of Story City, IA, daughter, Jane E. Kelley and son, Jack C. Kelley of Bentonville, AR.

She is survived by her daughter, Joan (Robert) Briggs of Centerton, AR, son, Mike (DeeDee) Parks of Cheyenne, WY, daughter-in-law, Beverly (Jack) Kelley of Bentonville, AR, and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.

A graveside service was held on March 22, 2024, with immediate family present. Laurel was laid to rest next to her second husband, Ryan Parks, in Bentonville Cemetery. She will be greatly missed.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm on Saturday, April 13, 2024, at First United Methodist Church of Bentonville, AR.

In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Laurel may be made to First United Methodist Church of Bentonville, AR.

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