John Parke

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John Ira Parke, 88, of Smithton, IL, born June 12, 1931, in Redhouse, KY, died Friday, December 27, 2019, at his residence.

Mr. Parke retired as a senior specialist project engineer at White Rodgers. He was a United States Air Force veteran and served in the Korean War. He was a volunteer for the Smithton Fire Department for more than 71 years, serving as a captain, chief and district trustee. He enjoyed dressing as a clown on Halloween and giving out candy at the fire station for 25 years. Mr. Parke was instrumental in helping establish the 911 system in the area. He was a bingo caller for more than 30 years, and an avid hunter and fisherman. He belonged to the Catholic War Vets and the Smithton Sportsman’s Club and was a life member of the National Rifle Association. John was the devoted primary care giver to his wife for the past several years. He loved his family beyond measure and hosted countless holiday BBQ’s. He was a great listener and always put others needs before his own, even in bad health.

He was preceded in death by two daughters, Ann Marie Parke and Mary Ann Parke; two sons, Anthony Joseph Parke and Mathew Paul Parke; his father, John Russell Parke, his mother and stepfather Kathryn B., nee Huetel, Ittner and Edward J. Ittner; two brothers, Edward G. “Bud” Ittner and Gary Ittner; a sister, Audrey Snyder; a son-in-law, David “Boog” Kreher; his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Carl and Lillian Schaefer; and in-laws, Marilyn and Paul Fournie and Janice Schaefer and Sandy Ittner; and a brother-in-law, Lanson Cox;

Surviving are his wife of 66 years, Dorothy A. Parke, nee Schaefer, whom he married on July 1, 1953;
a daughter, Cathy (Alan) Schilling;
two sons, John C. (Ruth) Parke, and Charles E. (Dawn) Parke;
11 grandchildren, John (Brittney) Lanham, Joe (Casey) Russell, Meghan Kreher,
Russell Parke, Holly (Jon) Mueth, Stephanie (Rob) Gill, Hannah Parke, Savannah Parke, Gabrielle Parke, Heidi Parke, and Miley Parke;
ten great-grandchildren, John Brantley, Aubry, Gunnar, and Gauge Lanham, Sadie,
Isaiah and Lainey Gill, Hailey Parke, Claire Brennan, and Tria Russell;
step grandchildren, Krista Schilling, Amanda (Andrey) Rudomiotov,
and Jesse Schilling;
step great-grandchildren, Mila and Sonya Rudomiotov;
a sister, Margaret (Bob) Bradford;
a brother, Warren Ittner;
a sister-in-law, Janet Ittner;
brother-in-law, Fred Schaefer;
and an uncle, Garrnet Parke.

Memorials may be made to the Smithton Volunteer Fire Department. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at

Visitation: Friends may visit from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday, December 30, 2019, and from 11 a.m. to noon Tuesday, December 31, 2019, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Smithton, IL. A Fire Department walk thru will be held at 7 p.m. Monday at the church.

Funeral: A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at noon Tuesday, December 31, 2019, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Smithton, IL.

Burial with military honors will follow at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, MO.


13 Comments on John Parke

JOE RUSSELL said : Guest Report Oct 18, 2021 at 6:11 PM

For anyone who happens to visit this page in the future, you can click here and listen to my Grandpa dictate (from memory) Casey at the Bat. :) Joe

  • Los Angeles
  • CA
Beth Hill said : Guest Report Jan 07, 2020 at 6:10 AM

We were neighbors, and he took my two boys to school for me one morning when my car wouldn't start. My thoughts and prayers are with the family. God Bless

  • Hillsboro
  • MO
Lisa said : Guest Report Jan 02, 2020 at 1:40 PM

So sorry for your loss Charlie. Prayers for you and the family.

  • Imperial
  • MO
Mary Anne Downen said : Guest Report Jan 01, 2020 at 10:56 PM

Kathy and family. My condolences on the passings of your father. Prayers for you Mary Anne Downen

  • Freeburg
  • Ul
Donna Blake Pearce said : Guest Report Dec 31, 2019 at 2:40 AM

Cathy, John, Charlie, Dorothy, I am so sorry for your loss. Your dad/husband was one of a kind, the best, a true gem. He will be missed by all who knew him. I'm sorry I was unable to make the trip up there but you are all in my heart, thoughts and prayers. Love you all !!

  • West Frankfort
  • Il
Larry & Sandy Battas said : Guest Report Dec 31, 2019 at 12:34 AM

We are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers our with you all. Johnny was a good friend and hunting buddy. So many great memories. There are now three of them sitting around the heavenly camp fire.

  • Phoenix
  • Az
Northwest Fire Protection District said : Guest Report Dec 30, 2019 at 9:35 PM

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, Chief Officers, and firefighters, please accept our deepest condolences. John was a true friend to everyone who knew him. John was very proud of the Smithton Fire Department and proud to have served in the various positions he held over the 71 years. Sincerely, Fire Chief Chester Borkowski

  • Belleville
  • Illinois
Ed Morgan said : Guest Report Dec 30, 2019 at 3:16 AM

John was a special kind of man. It was a great honor to have known him.

  • Smithton
  • IL
Tom Gorman said : Guest Report Dec 30, 2019 at 1:47 AM

Charlie, Dawn, & Family I know these are just words and really can't do much to comfort you in this sad time but please accept my (and my family's) sincere condolences for your loss.

  • Clinton
  • UT
Honored to have known Him said : Guest Report Dec 28, 2019 at 10:03 PM

What an amazing human being the world lost yesterday...if only in the flesh. None of us, who were blessed to have known JIP... need ever feel alone. Those of us that were in some way, shape, or form... inspired by the man, in the flesh.. need only open our eyes & our hearts to the signs of JIP..that will for now & everlong... be all around us in his spirit. See him in the deer or coyote out in the field; see him in EVERY...bird.. ..EVERYWHERE, that you EVER cross flight paths with!! Feel his pride & commitment to his fellow human beings, when you thankfully shake the hand of a veteran, firefighter, or any other first responder who sacrifice a piece of themselves for others. See his nature in the curiosity & inquisitiveness of children; be him... in the way you tell stories to your children...look to his example when you struggle for patience with your children!! Listen for the wisdom he was so good at sharing...after he sat and truly listened...and truly cared, about whatever problem you were faced with as you searched for answers to life’s questions. No matter if those questions or searches were big or small... he would give of himself in order to help others figure them out... even if he could not find the right answer to our life’s problems, his love & kindness, shown by simply listening and truly caring...became just as important & healing.. as figuring out a solution to the initial problem. What a amazing, selfless, loving, patient & kind soul he had in his ability to listen to others... to truly care about others first, and all too lieu of caring for himself; if at all. Those of us whose lives he has, in some way, changed for the better (and there are a lot of us out there!!)... can all help his spirit to live on in how we love, care for... or simply listen... to our family & friends. We can all help to change someone’s life for the better... by moving forward in the nature of John’s Spirit. We can all be better human beings, helping to make this world a better place, if we strive to do the spirit of John’s Nature. May his endless acts of kindness & good deeds, his years of dedicated & honorable service to his community, and his lifetime of love & commitment for his family & friends... live on in us all. And to you Johnny man... i can’t wait to see you again someday... to sit across the table from ya and listen to a new story... to watch you solve a problem or help you work on a project with clear eyes... to walk & talk with you for miles on end & with no end in sight... without any hoses or tubes attached!! Until that day & for everlong, brother... may you see...may you breathe... and may you finally rest... in the peace of God.

  • Smithton
  • Il
Karla Lippert said : Guest Report Dec 28, 2019 at 7:49 PM

So sorry to hear of John's passing. He was such a special man. He always had a smile for everyone and was a helping hand where every need in Smithton. It was a blessing to be around him and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.May the memories you have give you peace. God Bless You All.

  • Smithton
  • Illinois
Jessica Pollock said : Guest Report Dec 28, 2019 at 4:48 AM

I am so sorry to hear of his passing. I read the obit and I admire him so much for all that he did in his long life. Sending condolences to the Parke girls and their family. I am so sorry for your loss of this great man!

  • Freeburg
  • IL
Diane and Jim Touchette said : Guest Report Dec 27, 2019 at 11:48 PM

Charlie, Dawn and family, please accept our deepest sympathies on the loss of your dad. May our Heavenly Father comfort and sustain you during this sad time.

  • Freeburg
  • Illinois

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