Gene “Poppy” Allen Park
Gene “Poppy” Allen Park, 79, of Marengo, passed away peacefully with his family at his side on Wednesday (July 25, 2012) at Woodside Village in Mount Gilead.
He had a long struggle with cancer. He was born at home in Morrow County to the late Marion and Lucy Ufferman Park on March 15, 1933. He attended Johnsville High School, where he graduated in 1951. Shortly thereafter, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served his county in the Corp of Engineers in the Korean Conflict. Upon his return from his service, he worked at HPM in Mount Gilead, where he met his wife, Norma (McGrath), and they were married in November 1956. He left the Hydraulic to start his farming career, which was always his first love. A true farm boy at heart his whole life. He later was employed in the construction trade and put his engineering talents to work when he started his own construction business and operated it for 20 years until he retired due to his ill health. Gene also served his community as a Peru Township trustee. He loved to operate the township road grader and truck plowing snow and working for his friends and neighbors in the Peru community. He was truly a workaholic and could usually outlast anyone half his age, always looking for another project or creating work to make sure everyone close to him was as busy as he was. Gene was always involved with his grandchildren, with his ponies and their 4-H projects. Barney and Dan, his prize Haflinger pony team, appeared many times with his faithful companion Parker, the Dalmatian, perched on the seat beside the seasoned teamster on his bright red hitch wagon that he built or show carts at the county fairs or in a local community parade along with the rest of his family. He also enjoyed many wagon trains with a lot of his “horse” friends using a covered wagon that he had also built. At Christmas time, he loved to deck out his ponies with a grand set of Amish-made sleigh bells and always had the tape recorder playing carols while crowding as many kids as would fit in the self-made red and white enclosed parade wagon. Gene would love it when his long-time friend would don his Santa suit and hitch a ride to make the Christmas card setting complete. Many of the children and adults alike that were touched by Gene, his family and his animals knew him and his wife only as “Pop and Nan,” never quite sure of their real names. But we’re sure his real name is written in the Book of Life and he is probably hitching up his team once again, only this time to give his Lord a ride around the block.
Gene will be missed so much by his loving wife, Norma; daughter, Shirley Hatfield (Perry); son, Bill and his wife, Michelle; grandchildren and great-grandchildren; three sisters, Betty Preston, Jane Ulrey and Linda Morris; one brother Mike; and many nieces, nephews, and in-laws.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Clyde (Bud) and Tom; sisters, Mary Starkey, Donna Jones, Jo Singrey and Hazel Fisher; and buddies, Barney, Dan and Parker.
The family will receive friends from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 27, at the Snyder-Rodman Funeral Home, 307 E. High St., Ashley, where funeral services will be held at noon Saturday, July 28. Burial, with military honors provided by members of the U.S. Army will follow in Ashley Union Cemetery.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Morrow County 4H Club.
Condolences may be expressed to the family by visiting snyderfuneralhomes.com.