Born: September 29, 1919 in Flint, Genesee, Michigan, U.S.A.

Paul Evert Parks, circa 1945
Died: March 21, 1987 in Flint, Genesee, Michigan, U.S.A.
Occupation: Truck Driver
Married: Elizabeth Jane Krause, January 7, 1941

Children: Dian Elizabeth, born July 3, 1941

Married: Virginia Arlene Vliet on December 24, 1944
Larry Jack, born April 1, 1945
Guy Jim, born November 15, 1946
Shirley Ann, born November 25, 1948
Sandra Kay, born March 28, 1950
Darcy Lynn, born December 17, 1951
Vickie Jo, born July 10, 1953

Paul Evert Parks was born September 29, 1919 with three thumbs in the city of Flint in Genesee County Michigan to George Lewis Parks and Marie-Louise Angelina (Handfield). He was youngest of six brothers, Prosper, Albert, George R., Joseph, and Gerald Parks. The family lived at 1310 Walker Street in Flint.

While little is known about his childhood, he did recount stories to his children about his adventures "riding the rails" - hitching rides on various trains and travelling to all parts of the country. He told his children that he wore a leather belt and he would secure himself with a rope to the tops of box cars!

Paul's nephew Warren, the only son of Paul's oldest brother Prosper, recalled that his Uncle Paul (who was around 14 years old) taught him to bat a baseball when Warren visited Grandma Angeline.

In 1937, he registered for the Selective Service, but was denied service in World War II because of a spot on his lung. The 1938-39 Flint City Directory listed him as a Laborer and had him still living at 1310 Walker Street.

Paul Evert Parks,1935

Paul Evert Parks, 1937

Paul Evert Parks, circa 1939

1310 Walker St.

Betty Jane Krause and the birth of Dian
Paul met Elizabeth "Betty" Jane Krause sometime before October 1940. It is not known how or where they met. Paul and Betty Jane were married on January 7, 1941 in Flint, Michigan by the Justice of Peace on Maple Road, just outside of Flint. He was 21 years old, living at his parents home and working as a gas station attendant. She was 18, not working and living at 525 Garland Street in downtown Flint. (Because Betty Jane was not working, it is likely that 525 Garland Street was the home of a friend. Betty Jane was known to live with friends as the whereabouts of her parents is not known). The 1941-42 Flint City Directory listed Paul as a Truck Driver and had him living at 1310 Walker Street (his parents' home). Assuming this was published in late 1941, it is likely that Paul and Betty Jane lived together at Paul's parents' home after they were married.

On July 3, 1941, Betty gave birth to Dian Elizabeth, who was named after a character in the 1937 film Seventh Heaven, starring James Stewart and Simone Simon. The romantic war drama was a favorite of Paul's. At the time of Dian's birth, Betty Jane listed 525 Garland Street as her residence. This could indicate that she and Paul may have been separated at the time Dian was born. Little is known about what transpired over the next ten months, but by early 1942, it is known that Paul and Betty had indeed separated.

Paul & Betty Jane Parks relationship 1942-44
Click here to view a history of Paul and Betty Jane's relationship during their separation.

Paul & Dian, Aug. 26, 1941

Dian, circa 1942

Mobilgas Station, circa 1942

Angeline & Dian, circa 1942

Dian & Paul, circa 1942

Dian, circa 1943

Virginia Vliet and the births of Larry and Guy
By July 1943, Paul had met Virginia Arlene Vliet. Paul married Virginia on December 24, 1944 and moved with her and Dian into an apartment on the corner of Saginaw and 8th Streets in Flint. Sometime between early 1945 and 1946, Paul, Virginia, and Dian moved to a home at 1343 Decamp Street.

During this time period, Paul took a job at the Fisher Body plant of General Motors. He worked on the production line at first, but he did not like the confinement of working inside and found the work boring. He later worked for Fisher Body as a Truck Driver, which he liked much more.

In April 1945, Virginia gave birth to their first child, a boy. Paul wanted to name him Chico after the other main character in his favorite movie Seventh Heaven, but Virginia would have nothing of it. They named their first son Larry Jack, after Virginia's younger brother, Jack. In the fall of 1946, Dian started kindergarten at Greenly school and on November 15, 1946, Virginia gave birth to her second son, Guy Jim named after her other brother, Jim.

Fishing, July 30, 1943

Wedding Day, Dec. 24, 1944

Virginia, Dian, Larry & Paul, June 1945

Decamp St., circa 1946

Paul, May 13, 1946

Guy Jim Parks, circa 1947

The Pinehurst years

Sometime before the fall of 1947, the Parks family moved to 1102 Pinehurst Street in Flint. Dian started the 1st grade at McKinley Elementary School. The family would live there for the next twelve years.

In 1948, Paul was laid off from Fisher Body at which time he went to work as a driver for Beebe Transfer, a local trucking company that supplied shipping services to General Motors plants. Paul would make deliveries between the local GM plants as well as throughout the state of Michigan. Later that year, on November 28, Virginia gave birth to Shirley Ann, the first of four daughters who would join the family on Pinehurst. On March 28, 1950, Virginia gave birth to her second daughter, Sandra Kay. Paul was frequently on the road and wasn't always home when Virginia went into labor. So, Virginia would call her brother Ralph who would baby sit the kids, while his friend Huey took Virginia to the hospital!

For Christmas 1950, Paul and Virginia bought each of the kids a new bicycle. Paul could hardly contain his excitement. So, he asked Dian if she could keep a secret. She said yes, so he took her upstairs to the storage room and showed her the new bikes. Dian was very excited, but Paul reminded her that it would be their secret and that she should not tell the other children. Dian never said a word. Fifty years later, Dian recounted the story to her brothers and sisters who each admitted that they too were taken by Paul to see the bikes and sworn to secrecy. None of them ever said a word.

By Christmas 1951, the family had grown again as Virginia gave birth to Darcy Lynn on December 17. On July 10, 1953, the family was completed when Virginia gave birth to Vickie Jo.

Paul liked to take the kids one at a time with him for the day on his road trips. On one trip around 1953, he took Dian with him to Cadillac, Michigan. During the trip, the truck's universal joint broke and Paul and Dian were stranded a few miles outside of Cadillac. Paul and Dian had to hitchhike into town. They were picked up by a farmer who put Paul and Dian in the back of his panel truck among crates of live chickens. Once in town, Paul used all of his money to have the truck fixed. With no money, nothing to eat and no place to stay, they spent the night in the truck. The next morning, they made the delivery. After the delivery, Paul came back to the truck and asked Dian to keep a secret. He had "found" a $20 bill! They went straight to a restaurant where Paul told Dian to order anything she wanted. They feasted and with stomachs full, they came home.

While Virginia would never let Paul name one of their children Chico, Paul did succeed in adding a "Chico" to the family. Around this time, the family got their first dog, a Cocker Spaniel, who Paul proudly named Chico.

The family purchased their first television while living on Pinehurst, a small black & white model. Dian remembers anticipating it arriving while she was at school and that when she got home from school, it was there and Virginia was watching Kate Smith sing on TV. Paul enjoyed watching the Friday night fights.

The years on Pinehurst were a happy time for the Parks family. They loved to listen to the radio, including Amos and Andy and the Jack Benny show. During summers, the family would spend weekends at Myers Lake, where they would pack a picnic lunch and the kids played at the beach. There was a small amusement park with ferris wheel and a few rides as well as a roller rink. The Parks family also spent a lot of time with Virginia's brothers and sister and their families, listening to music, drinking, and playing cards. The family would also vacation on Houghton Lake.

Dian on Myers Lake Ferris Wheel, circa 1949

Guy, Larry, Dian and cousin Kay, circa 1950

Beebe Trfr Truck, 6-27-51

Secret Bikes, Summer 1951

Guy, first day of kindergarten?, circa 1952

Grandma Angeline, Virginia and children, circa 1952

Paul, Darcy, circa 1955

Parks children, circa 1955

Parks children, circa 1955

Paul and Larry, Aug, 1956

Pillow Fight!, circa 1956

Parks Family, circa 1957

Tough times

In 1958, the Parks family moved from Pinehurst to 3315 Van Slyke Road in Flint township. It is believed that this coincided with Paul losing his job with Beebe Transfer when the company went out of business. Money was tight and times were tough and stressful. To compound their problems, Paul broke his leg slipping on ice on New Year's Eve and was unable to work at all. The family had to resort to Welfare support until Paul was able to work again. The family went to local farms for potatoes and field corn for food. Although Paul did not like her to work, Virginia took a job as a checker at a local grocery store to help support the family. Eventually, they came through the tough times and Paul landed a job driving for Anderson Tank Company. Anderson transported large container tanks.

Paul & children, circa 1958

Home away from home, 1959

Vickie, Dian, Shirley, Darcy
Myers Lake, 07-1959

Dian's Graduation, 195

Father in Law and Grandfather

In 1961, Paul and family moved to Bristol Road in Flint township. On August 2, 1962, Dian married Dennis Kish of South Bend, Indiana and moved out of their home. Larry and Guy graduated from Swartz Creek high school in 1963? and 1964?, respectively. On April 18, 1963, Paul became a Grandfather as Dian gave birth to Dennis George Kish, Jr. On October 3, 1964, Paul's second grandson, David Lee Kish, was born.


Grandsons Dennis &
David Kish, 08-1965

Larry's Graduation, 1963?

Guy's Graduation, 1964?

Last Stop - Meade Street

Around 1965, the State condemned the Bristol Road home in order to build an on ramp for Interstate 69 and Paul and family had to move. After the financing for a home in Winchester Village, Swartz Creek fell through, they purchased a home at 526 S. Meade Street in Flint. Shirley, Sandy, Darcy and Vickie started attending Flint Central High School.

In 1966, Guy was drafted and began his service in the Vietnam War.

Larry moved out of home, 196?.

Shirley graduated in 1967?

On January 30, 1967, Paul's first granddaughter was born as Dian gave birth to Darcy Louise.

Sandy graduated in 1969.

Shirley's marriage 1969.

Darcy graduated in 1970.

Vickie graduated in 1971.

Darcy's marriage 1972

Vickie's marriage 1974

Kim was born May 3, 1974
Chad was born
Michelle was born
Amanda was born 3/24/1981
J.P. was born 5/5/1978
Rob was born
Michael was born
Kris was born January 9, 1978

Bancroft Trucking
Central Transport

In 1981, Paul retired from Central Transport. His health quickly deteriorated after retirement. A thyroid problem led to weight gain and other health issues. In March 1987 at the age of 67, Paul suffered a heart attack and died within a couple days.

Guy, 08-1966

Shirley and Jim, 06-1969

was an adventuresome, loving and romantic man with an infectious smile. He enjoyed popular music, bowling, watching boxing on television and of course, he liked his beer and Viceroy cigarettes. Most of all, he enjoyed the company of family and friends. He was a playful, loving father. He was fond of asking his children "Who loves who?" to which they would respond "I love you!"

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