Ross Parkes: A shin­ing light in South Can­ter­bury’s com­mu­nity

The Timaru Herald - - Weekend - Es­ther Ashby-Coven­try

For­mer Ti­maru den­tist and Otago rugby player Wil­liam Ross Parkes has been re­mem­bered as some­one who al­ways saw the best in oth­ers.

Parkes died peace­fully sur­rounded by fam­ily in Dunedin on Septem­ber 11, aged 84.

For­mer fel­low Otago rugby player, den­tal prac­tice part­ner and long­time friend Ne­vis Jones de­scribed Parkes as ‘‘non­judg­men­tal’’.

Parkes and Jones met when they were both study­ing den­tistry at Otago Univer­sity in the mid1950s and played for the Otago rugby team.

Parkes also met his fu­ture wife, Win, at the univer­sity when she was study­ing to be a PE teacher, they mar­ried a few years later and went on to have three chil­dren who all qual­i­fied as med­i­cal doc­tors.

Parkes was a flanker when the Otago team won the Ran­furly Shield against Welling­ton in 1957.

His love of rugby never di­min­ished, and he went on to coach for Old Boys, af­ter mov­ing to Ti­maru to work with Jones in a den­tal prac­tice in 1964. The orig­i­nal den­tal prac­tice was lo­cated where the Farm­ers carpark is now.

The prac­tice ex­panded to in­clude Ger­ald Byrne, and Ian O’Lough­lin who spe­cialised in oral surgery.

They moved into The Sil­ver Birches Den­tal Cen­tre on Sophia St and Parkes spent a year at Glas­gow Univer­sity in Scot­land be­com­ing a spe­cial­ist in or­thodon­tics. Then Mark Eas­ton and his wife Chris Hol­loway (pae­di­atrics) joined the team.

‘‘Ross was proud of our prac­tice for be­ing a team ef­fort that cov­ered all forms of den­tistry un­der one roof, and was an as­set for Ti­maru,’’ Jones said.

Grow­ing up in Dan­nevirke, Parkes was ac­tive in sport and school pro­duc­tions, and in Ti­maru ap­peared in South Can­ter­bury Drama League pro­duc­tions in­clud­ing South Pa­cific, West Side Story and Les Mis­er­ables.

He loved golf and Jones has fond mem­o­ries of the fun they had on golf trips with friends.

‘‘Too much the­ory ru­ined what was once a good stroke,’’ Jones joked. In later years, Parkes en­joyed play­ing golf with long-term friends Wynne Ray­mond, John

Do­ran and Ken Munro, and ap­pre­ci­ated the range of friend­ships he made in Ti­maru through Toast­mas­ters, the Ti­maru Golf Club, South Can­ter­bury Club and other in­ter­ests.

Parkes was a key mem­ber of the Ti­maru Top Town team that won the na­tional com­pe­ti­tion twice in the late 1970s. He was also an ac­tive poker player at the South Can­ter­bury Club on Thurs­day nights and was part of the group which es­tab­lished the Ao­rangi Sports Sta­dium and de­vel­oped the play­ing fields at Ao­rangi Park.

He made many con­tri­bu­tions to the Ti­maru com­mu­nity in ad­di­tion to his sport­ing in­ter­ests.

These in­clude his role in the for­ma­tion of the South Can­ter­bury Com­mu­nity Col­lege (later, Ao­raki Polytech­nic and then Ara); as a mem­ber of the South Can­ter­bury Mu­seum Devel­op­ment Trust; as a vol­un­teer at the South Can­ter­bury Hospice and Ti­maru Civil De­fence; and as a se­nior staff mem­ber pro­vid­ing or­thodon­tic care at Ti­maru Hospi­tal.

Be­yond Ti­maru, Parkes will be re­mem­bered by fam­ily, friends and col­leagues who ben­e­fit­ted from his en­thu­si­asm and warm-hearted spirit, in­clud­ing those he trav­elled with to Europe for the in­ter­na­tional Scout Jam­boree in 1951.

Parkes is sur­vived by Win Parkes and their three chil­dren Karen, Derek and Mar­got, and two grand­chil­dren Josephine and An­gus.

‘‘Ross was proud of our prac­tice for be­ing a team ef­fort that cov­ered all forms of den­tistry un­der one roof, and was an as­set for Ti­maru.’’ Ne­vis Jones


For­mer Otago rugby play­ers Ross Parkes, left, and Ne­vis Jones cel­e­brate the Otago Ran­furly Shield win in 2013.

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