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Friday, February 21, 2014
Robinson Elementary Teacher Makes Large Donation
For those of you who attended George R. Robinson Elementary this might be of interest. From 1949-1975, Miss Joyce Garrison, who married and became Mrs. Earl Calvin Parke, taught at Robinson School. In the early 1980s I was attending a luncheon of the Freedoms Foundation here in St. Louis County and happened to see a familiar face. I kept bugging my husband, insisting I KNEW her but couldn't place her, happens a lot to me! I finally went to her table and told her I was sure we had met, and asked if she was perhaps a teacher. Yes, was her answer, and I said in Kirkwood? Yes, and I asked Robinson School? Yes, again. I then said, "I am Leslie Vander Meulen and I think you were my brother's first grade teacher." And immediately she said, "Well yes, you must be Kert's sister." We then had a nice conversation about Robinson, Kirkwood, roots and little Kert. As it turned out she was a member of the MO Mayflower Society and I had seen her name for years as I served in various Board positions. Because she didn't attend meetings regularly (we only have 3 per year) I never saw her so I had no way to know she was the former Joyce Garrison. In 1984 she and her husband retired to Westfield, NY, the area where she was born, very close to my family's Dutch roots around Lake Erie. She was a member of the Buffalo NY Colony of the Mayflower Society after she went back to NY, and the DAR as well as the MO Retired Teachers Assoc.
The current issue of the "Mayflower Quarterly" just arrived and I was surprised to flip to a page and see a photo that looked familiar - Mrs. Parke. The title: "Mayflower Descendant Leaves Society Unprecedented Bequest"... really caught my eye because we get lots of bequests - unprecedented not so ordinary! Our sweet Miss Garrison left the Mayflower Society over $1.5million!!! She had no children and the article describes the bequest as the "majority portion of her estate".
She earned her degree in Elementary Ed at Wash U. She was born in Silver Creek, NY and is buried in the Garrison family plot at Ripley, NY, survived by a niece and two nephews. She died in December 2012. You can go here to see her obituary.
What a lovely connection to make with this lady from Kirkwood doing so much good for such a good cause. The fund will be the Joyce Garrison Parke Memorial Fund. I am sure our Society will find a good home for the funds, as we have a large house museum/library and offices in our care and we are always publishing new research on Mayflower passengers and topics.
In this class were, among some I don't remember, Ray Stelfox, David James (who shared my same b'day and lived just down from Larry Gibbons), Lydia Flanigan, Ricky Kohler, Bob Delong, Bruce Rutherford, Anne Smith, Mary Clifton, Doug Hayman, Bill Watts, Mike Caldwell, John Guyer, Russ Magee, Becky Smith, (the late) Ronnie Reid, and (the late) Charlie Huebner. BUT THEN you'd know these faces if you'd seen www.khs65.com where I have a post with lots of class pix ~~and I have more to post, lurking on this computer somewhere!!!