Esther Marie (Lynn) Parks, 81


Parks, Esther










Esther Marie (Lynn) Parks, 81, was called home to share
that joy with her beloved Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Monday, August
10, 2015.  She was born June 9, 1934 in Cranston, Rhode Island to the late
Axel & Beda W. Anstrom Soderholm. My mother was simply amazing!  Soft
spoken, selfless and extremely warm and giving to everyone she ever met. A
true fighter all her life she was the youngest of three children of
parents who emigrated from Sweden in the midst of the Great Depression.  A
master carpenter by trade Axel came to the United States through Ellis
Island to build a better life for himself and his family. A number of
years ago when I was a small boy visiting them he recounted his excitement
at seeing the Statute of Liberty with that shining torch of freedom in the
New York harbor. Through his perseverance, hard work and dedication while
building homes in Rhode Island, he ended up proudly representing that
immigrant foundation who went on to become U.S. Citizens and who built
America into the powerhouse of freedoms we all now enjoy. My mother
carried on those strong traits of hard work, honest living and a genuine
care for those she came in contact with, many times giving all she had and
then some. At Gorton High in Warwick, R.I. from 1949 to 1952, she was
extremely attractive, popular and from reading her yearbook everyone’s
friend. “Sodie” as she was known back then was the Class Secretary, head
“Bumble Bee” cheerleader, voted “Most Popular” was on the editorial staff
of the yearbook “The Echo” and involved in just about every other club or
program offered. Despite this heavy social commitment graduated with
honors at the top of her class. After high school she met and married my
father who had just finished a stint in the U.S. Navy after the Korean
War. A short time after they were married she was tragically stricken with
Polio while pregnant with me. Doctors feared that if she were put into an
Iron Lung it would cause my premature birth so she fought hard to keep
that from happening. It was a miracle she ever survived that physical
ordeal let alone gave birth to me or to have ever walked again. Ironically
after I was born in 1955 the government implemented mandatory polio
vaccination programs so others wouldn’t have to suffer the debilitating
disease she had just endured. Mother told me a number of years later that
she, “was bound and determined not to let that little bit of adversity win
and set out to conquer it so she could be the best mother to me, and later
my younger brother John and younger sister Dodie (Mary).” I can happily
report that she did that and much, much more. There was never a moment in
our lives that we didn’t feel her love, her dedication and her support.
Her number one priority throughout her life was us and we knew and felt
it. As a son I was given the very precious gift of having her live with my
wife Pamela and I for over 3 years near the end of her life. I truly
didn’t understand nor appreciate this gift until it was taken away by the
slow reappearance of what we learned from doctors was “Post-Polio
syndrome” requiring her to need full-time nursing home care. She didn’t
let that get her down though and within months she knew everyone on the
staff at the nursing home by name and despite how she felt wanted to hear
about them and their families, who she also knew by name. Needless to say
everyone there really loved her and made it a point to check in on her
even if they weren’t working in her wing. Sadly, I’m sorry now that I
didn’t make the time to have really and thoroughly appreciated what a true
gift from God her living with us was. Like every hard working business
person I was so self-absorbed in the company I built and the time it took
to run it that I was always “too busy” to have just sat and enjoyed the
many stories she shared with my wife Pam. The two of them became extremely
close friends and someone mom turned to for advice and companionship. For
me it was so precious to see the two of them together and how much mom
really lit up when Pam was in the room with her. I was however, blessed at
the very end to have sat with her, held her hand, helped put the extra
pats of butter in her mashed potatoes, adjust the electronic “ears” for
her TV and just listen to this beautiful, giving mother enthusiastically
talk about how excited she was to be seeing Jesus. Recounting to me in a
nearly inaudible whispering voice but still with a gleam in her eyes and
smile on her face that when she first saw me after I was delivered all she
could think of was that, “I was her precious Prince, a beautiful and BIG
baby boy.” She is survived by her two older sisters, Alva Carlson and Anne
Beattie; her sons, William W. and John W. Thompson; daughter, Mary D.
Bennett and husband, Scott Bennett; grandson, Michael Andrews; grandson,
J.R. Thompson; granddaughter, Jennifer L. Atkins and husband, Douglas M.
Atkins; great grandson, Cole M. Atkins, and great granddaughter, Brooklynn
Dell Atkins. Funeral arrangements are private and under the direction of
Cedar Bay Funeral Home, 714-1110. The family is asking that donations be
made to Community Hospice ( in lieu of flowers.
By: William W. (Tommy — nickname she gave me so I wouldn’t go through
life as “the Turd”) Thompson, III.  Her loving son…