Warren Regan Park, first born of Aubrey Glen “Cub” and Jessie Lou Swart Park, was born May 4, 1948 in Colby, and passed away on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, at the Sky Ridge Medical Center, Lone Tree, Colo. Warren was a life-long resident of Oakley, and attended college at the University of Kansas and Fort Hays State University. Warren began working as a teenager on the farm with his uncle Alf Swart during the summer and also at the family-owned business, Swart-Park Motors, Inc. The dealership served Oakley and the area for many years. Warren eventually became the sole owner-operator until poor health forced him to close the dealership on May 31, 2013.
Warren married Gail Ann Cook on Aug. 16, 1970, and together they raised three children: Matthew, Andrew and Wendy. The family enjoyed boating, camping, skiing and watching the boys during their sport activities, which were treasured moments for Warren. Warren was very proud of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and he loved them dearly.
Uncle Alf Swart told Warren that to be successful, you had to be involved in the community and support events. Warren took this advice to heart. One of Warren’s favorite events was the annual Kansas State Cornhusking Contest — the 42nd annual event just occurred this past Saturday — he had the best seat in the house and didn’t have to lift a finger.
Warren served in many local leadership positions — Logan County Hospital Board, Oakley Chamber of Commerce Board and the Oakley Recreation Board. Business-related affiliations that Warren enjoyed included the Midwest Ford Dealers Association and the Ford Advertising group. Other organizations that he enjoyed were the Cub Scouts/Boy Scouts, Oakley Kids Wrestling Club, Jaycees, Masonic Lodge, Logan County Shrine Club, and the Oakley Ambassadors.
Warren was also a familiar face as an announcer or referee at wrestling matches or helping at football games with the chain-gang.
In 2007, Warren and Cora Lee Samuelson were married and together they continued as leaders and supporters of community events. As a new business-person in Oakley, Cora Lee recognized Warren’s love of being a downtown businessman, admired his commitment to “shop Oakley” and learned from him that an event like cornhusking makes absolutely no sense until you get involved and you pour your heart and soul into it. Warren’s commitment to cornhusking was all for the recognition it would bring to Oakley by bringing visitors to Oakley. As a consumer, Warren’s first commitment was supporting other fellow Oakley businesses — cost was second in priority. Warren also volunteered his handy-man talents at the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center by helping with many projects. He enjoyed chatting with the visitors and always encouraged them to visit area sites.
Warren had a “big heart” and received personal satisfaction in helping people for 36 years as an EMT, which resulted in a positive impact on many people. With much sadness, Warren turned in his emergency radio due to his failing health. However, he was always ready to pull out the first-aid kit and look at a wound and begin treatment. Over the years, as travelers were towed into the dealership Warren bent over backward to help the stranded travelers find a way to get on to their destination. More than once, he delivered them to their destination himself.
Warren was preceded in death by his parents, Cub, in 2009, and Jessie in 2001, and sister, Nancy Park Windsor, 1987.
Survivors include his wife, Cora Lee, Oakley; two sons, Matt Park and wife, Cristy, Oakley, Dr. Andrew Park and wife, Megha, Kansas City, Mo.; daughter, Wendy Parsons and husband, Pat, Oakley; step-sons, Mark and Steven Samuelson, Oakley; grandchildren, Tyler, Kylie, and Ella Park, Oakley, and Annie Kautz, Fort Collins, Colo., Siddhartha Park, Kansas City, Mo., and Sydney Parsons, Oakley, Alan and April Parsons and their sons, Sol, Kiba and Logan Parsons, Lawrence, Kara and her daughter, Olivia Parsons, Sharon Springs, and Chelsy Parsons, Denver, Colo.; a sister, Karen and Jim Gilpin, Iola; brother, Wade Park, Iola, and brother-in-law, Thomas Windsor, Overland Park; along with three aunts, two uncles, many nieces and nephews, cousins and friends.
Funeral services were Thursday at the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center with Pastor Bob Kelly officiating. Interment followed at the Oakley Cemetery with Masonic Rites by Oakley Masonic Lodge 253. Visitation was Wednesday, at the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center. Memorials to the Wild West Historical Foundation, Logan County Shrine Club and Oakley Kids Wrestling Club may be sent to Kennedy-Koster Funeral Home, P.O. Box 221, Oakley, KS 67748 condolences: www.kennedykosterfh.com.
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