RM Parks

A Cel­e­bra­tion of Life

Porterville Recorder - - THE RECORD -

RM Parks was born in Somer­ton, Ari­zona on July 25, 1923 to WM Aubrey & Vera Parks. Aubrey and Vera’s first home in Ari­zona was mea­ger to say the least, right down to its dirt floors and out house. But it was a new start for the fam­ily. Liv­ing in Somer­ton, the fam­ily farmed 40 acres, grow­ing cot­ton and al­falfa. They raised pork and RM’S mom, Vera, helped work the fields. RM’S dad had been hired by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to run a dredger on the canal. So, RM, by the age of 10 could har­ness and drive a team with a work­ing plow. Dur­ing this pe­riod of time, RM, cut hemp and traded it with the Co­copa In­di­ans for ponies, show­ing an en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit at a very young age. RM walked to Green­way, a 3 room gram­mar school, grades K-8, and fin­ished his fresh­man year at Yuma High School be­fore the fam­ily’s next move. In 1938 the fam­ily moved to Turner, Ore­gon and lived on a 20 acre farm which RM helped work. He biked to school his sopho­more year. Along with his school work he also played base­ball and bas­ket­ball. Af­ter 1 year the de­ci­sion was made to move to Porter­ville to be near ex­tended fam­ily.

In 1940, the fam­ily had moved to Cas­tle Road in Porter­ville and RM was a ju­nior at Porter­ville High School. While RM was at­tend­ing high school, he met Clarice Wal­lace, his fu­ture wife. When he turned 18, he started driv­ing a school bus and RM would pick Clarice up so she wouldn’t have to walk to school. RM, a se­nior, would come home af­ter school and work in the fields. Af­ter RM grad­u­ated from high school in 1941, RM con­tin­ued his ed­u­ca­tion at Porter­ville Ju­nior Col­lege. The fam­ily had pur­chased a ranch on Mathew Street. This is where RM was liv­ing when WWII broke out. He en­listed in the Navy in the V-12 Navy Pro­gram and con­tin­ued his ed­u­ca­tion at the Univer­sity of Texas. He later at­tended Of­fi­cer’s Train­ing School. RM was sta­tioned in the Philip­pines and China build­ing air strips. At the end of the war, he was an of­fi­cer re­tir­ing as a lieu­tenant JG.

RM re­turned to Porter­ville and on Septem­ber 14, 1947 mar­ried Clarice, who at the time had a daugh­ter, Gail, whose fa­ther was killed in the war. RM pur­chased a 20 acre farm and built their first home. This is the home where daugh­ters, Mar­i­lyn and Mar­cia were born. RM and his fa­ther leased an ad­di­tional 100 acres. They put in pas­ture and raised beef cat­tle. RM built all of the fenc­ing and load­ing chutes him­self.

In 1951, RM, Clarice and fam­ily moved to the home ranch. He grew cot­ton and al­falfa. That same year he bought his first John Deere Trac­tor. In 1953, RM be­gan re­mod­el­ing the house. All the con­struc­tion was done by RM and two helpers. RM was in­no­va­tive and al­ways think­ing ahead of time. He pur­chased the first 2-row John Deere cot­ton picker in Tu­lare County.

In the early 1960’s RM leased an ad­di­tional 400 acres. He grew grain and sold it lo­cally. RM be­gan con­vert­ing the home ranch to prunes, 20 to 40 acres at a time. When the ranch was sold in 1969, the en­tire ranch was planted in prunes. RM and Clarice moved into Porter­ville and de­signed and built a home on High­land Drive. RM was look­ing for a new op­por­tu­nity and in De­cem­ber of 1969 he pur­chased the Tex­aco Plant and be­came a Tex­aco Con­signee. He started out with his son-in law, Tim Cal­li­son, one driver and one sec­re­tary. The cus­tomer base con­sisted on 12 sta­tions and about 40 farm ac­counts.

Dur­ing the 1973 oil em­bargo, a gov­ern­ment con­trolled pro­gram was cre­ated that al­lo­cated the amount of gal­lons of fuel that could be de­liv­ered to dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions. As soon as this hap­pened, RM & Tim came to the plant one morn­ing to find peo­ple lined up wait­ing to fill out pa­per­work for the pro­gram. At that time, gaso­line was sell­ing for 28 cents per gal­lon and diesel fuel was run­ning 14 cents de­liv­ered, a truck and trailer of diesel sold for 9 cents per gal­lon.

In 1974, RM pur­chased all the Tex­aco in­vest­ments in Tu­lare County and be­came a job­ber. At that time RM Parks, Inc. was formed. Also in 1974, RM’S daugh­ter Mar­i­lyn came to work for the com­pany and in 1977 his daugh­ter Gail joined the staff. Tex­aco, in 1985, asked RM Parks, Inc. to be­gin mar­ket­ing in Fresno, Kings, and Kern coun­ties. In the 1990’s with an eye on the fu­ture and RM’ s unique abil­ity to fore­see growth in un­in­cor­po­rated ar­eas, he be­gan to pur­chase prop­er­ties for con­ve­nience stores. In 1998 con­struc­tion be­gan on the first of 4 Parks Place stores. In 1996, RM and the com­pany ac­quired a Shell con­tract and started brand­ing through­out the val­ley and State of Cal­i­for­nia. RM was very proud of his fleet of trucks. The trucks could not leave the yard un­less they were spot­less.

Through the years, RM sur­rounded him­self with tal­ent and rein­vested in his busi­ness. Know­ing that the key to build­ing a last­ing busi­ness was form­ing en­dur­ing re­la­tion­ships, he set out to cre­ate a fam­ily at­mos­phere not only within his com­pany but with his cus­tomers as well. Al­ways think­ing of his em­ploy­ees and cus­tomers as fam­ily has built a bond that holds true to this very day.

RM and Clarice were hon­ored by Tex­aco and Shell with trips to Aus­tralia, New Zealand, Switzer­land, the Indy 500 Race, 1996 At­lanta Olympics and the first Win­ston Cup se­ries race in Cal­i­for­nia. RM and Clarice spent many won­der­ful sum­mer va­ca­tions at Shaver Lake. He en­joyed fish­ing with his brother-in-law, John Free­man, ev­ery day. When all the grand­chil­dren stayed at the cabin there was hik­ing, back­pack­ing and swim­ming per day fol­lowed by an evening of board games and card play­ing.

RM al­ways had a gift for grow­ing things. When he and Clarice moved to Jaye Street in Porter­ville, the grounds were like a park, serene and beau­ti­fully man­i­cured. This is when RM be­gan a new hobby – Bon­sai. Here his green thumb and metic­u­lous at­ten­tion to de­tail showed in ev­ery­thing he touched.

RM was a nat­u­ral ath­lete. He played golf and ten­nis. He al­ways en­cour­aged all chil­dren to par­tic­i­pate in sports.

In 1981, RM de­signed and built their fi­nal home on High­land Drive. He would drive his sports car to work at 7:30 am, even at 94 years old. He would al­ways have a smile for ev­ery­one and would al­ways ask about your fam­ily!

RM passed away Au­gust 26, 2017. He is sur­vived by his daugh­ters, Gail En­ter­line and Mar­i­lyn (Tim) Cal­li­son, four grand­chil­dren, Ja­son (Tonya) Cal­li­son, Melissa (Chad) Davis, Greg (Nancy) En­ter­line, Laura En­ter­line, grand­son in-law Ja­son Pat­ter­son, 12 great grand­chil­dren and 2 great­great grand­chil­dren. He is pre­ceded in death by his par­ents WM Aubrey and Vera Parks, his wife Clarice Parks, daugh­ter Mar­cia Parks, grand­daugh­ter Stacy Pat­ter­son and 2 sis­ters, Nina and Norma.

A Spe­cial thank you to the Ce­bal­los fam­ily and Vis­it­ing An­gels for their won­der­ful care dur­ing RM’S fi­nal days.

Some peo­ple won­der where life will take them. Un­like most peo­ple, RM was not a fol­lower, he was a leader and vi­sion­ary with the courage and de­ter­mi­na­tion nec­es­sary to plot his own course in life and to build his own des­tiny for the fam­ily he loved so much.

He will be dearly missed.

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