She was born in Edina, Missouri on February 9, 1927, the daughter of Cletus and Mae (Moran) Kriegshauser.
She grew up a happy country girl and lived in a loving family farm household, replete with animals and chores, and lots of great home cooking with home-grown food. With her older sister, Martha, and a younger brother, John, they lived a type of childhood that is almost nonexistent now, right down to a retired circus horse that would get down on its knees so that she and her brother could get aboard to ride to school. She went to a small country school, and then to the high school at St. Josephs's Catholic parish and was a deeply spiritual woman of strong faith from her earliest years.
In her late teens, she got an itch to see the world and decided - as she would say so frequently in her later years - that she really did not want to be a farmer’s wife. It was while working for the phone company in Hannibal, MO that she met the love of her life, John Parks. They were married in Hannibal’s Blessed Sacrament Church in 1948. They eventually went from Hannibal to Wichita, and on to Kansas City, Omaha, Scottsdale, and finally Los Angeles, before they settled back in the Midwest. They gave birth to a son, Jeffry in 1952, and to David in 1955.
She thoroughly enjoyed being a wife and full-time mother, until young David was in the 6th grade, at which point she decided he had wings enough, and she became the secretary or office assistant of the Catholic grade school he was attending, a type of ‘service’ work that she would love and continue for the rest of her life. She spent years working in the Shawnee Mission School District headquarters as an Administrative Assistant on their return to Kansas City, and when John got a job with the state of Kansas in the early 80’s, she moved to a similar position in Topeka’s 501 school district and did that for 15 more years until her formal ‘retirement,’ in the conventional sense of the word.
A tireless and joyful worker, and already very involved in her home parish of Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Topeka, she then took a job with Sr. Ann Moylan, SCL, assisting in the coordination of dozens of volunteers in a thriving ministry to the elderly. She did that for another fifteen years, until ‘forced’ into retirement by the Covid lockdown at the ripe young age of 93!!
Through her last years, and all through the lockdown, and right up until two weeks before she crossed over, she lamented not being able to work anymore. She always had a smile and a helping hand for anyone she met, and could never seemingly do enough, taking great joy in every connection with every person she met. Service, and with a joyful smile. That was Ruth Parks!
She was also a member of the Women’s Club at Most Pure Heart, was an active volunteer with the Adoration Chapel, was a Eucharistic Minister for the Homebound, and was enthusiastically involved in teaching in the RCIA program there, as well. She also loved and was very active in the Topeka Rose Society, a thing that gave great joy to both her and her husband John, a master rose-grower. Their yard was filled with roses every summer, and the blooms radiated the love between her and her life-long sweetheart.
Ruth also enjoyed reading, sewing (made a lot of her own beautiful clothes over the years), gardening - including vegetables and flowers - and was a terrific cook (some farm habits serve well no matter where! LOL!!), and she loved both dancing, and being outside in the yard with her husband, and she always enjoyed the loving chores of tending to family, cats, and dogs.
John preceded her in death, as did her son, Jeffry, as well as her brother, John, and sister, Martha. She was still quite active, and happily in service of others, for the fifteen years after her life-partner had crossed over. She is now survived by her son, David Parks, of Colorado and Los Angeles.
Ruth will lie in state at the Brennan-Mathena Funeral Home on Friday, June 23, 2023, where her family will receive friends, and a rosary will be prayed at 6PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, June 24 at 11AM at Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church. Graveside services will be held the following Saturday, July 1, at 12:00 NOON in the St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Edina, Missouri.
Memorial contributions may be made in her memory to the Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish Ministry to the Aging.
Online condolences and fond memories may be left at www.brennanmatheanfh.com