A LETTER IN HONOR OF WILFORD E. PARK
WRITTEN BY HIS OLDER BROTHER, CLIFFORD G . PARK
Clifford G. Park, who was born on February 5, 1900, was 13 months older than his brother
Wilford. They grew up on the farm together and attended the University of Toronto together,
spending four of their academic years keeping batch together in a single third-floor attic room.
Clifford served most of his life as a minister in the United Church of Canada. The two brothers
and their wives spent Christmas 1984 together in Sun City, Arizona. Clifford and Lillian were
vacationing in Florida when the news of Wilford's death reached them in February 1985. This
letter was read both at the Memorial Service in Sun City on February 22, 1985 and at the
Memorial Service in Minneapolis on April 2, 1985. The Aleta Clifford refers to was his first wife.
Reluctantly I have concluded I ought not to cross the continent from Florida so soon again, to attend the funeral of my brother. But might I open my heart to say that not since the death of Aleta in 1967 have my tears so freely flowed, as when I learned I had said a last goodbye to him with whom I shared so closely the first quarter century of our lives, and whom I had learned to love more than any other man in all the world.
Of course I have followed with great pride through the years his outstanding career in the field of public health, and I have noted with great satisfaction his very significant service to his Church and to his Lord--Jesus Christ--his master and mine! If I had been choosing a text for his funeral I would have selected David's words about Abner as recorded in II Samuel 3:38--"Know you not that a prince and a great man is fallen this day in Israel!"
To the members of Wilford's scattered family I offer my sincerest condolences and congratulate them upon the good and noble man who was their father.
To his wife Evelyn, in this lonely hour of bereavement I add our own deep sense of loss, and assure her she has been the wonderful wife of a wonderful man. Her own magnificent career, paralleling his, greatly enriched his achievements, and though his retirement necessitated an early change and curtailment of activities on her part, her subsequent years of wise and affectionate solicitude not only extended his life but also crowned his long eventide with sunshine and happiness.
It was no small privilege for Lillian and me, taking advantage of Wilford's generosity, to spend this last wonderful Christmas week with Wilford and Evelyn--the first Christmas together in over 60 years. It was a priceless opportunity to relive old memories--and also to read Wilford's 'magnum opus'--his memoirs of more than 600 pages--surely a legacy that family and fellow health professionals will continue to cherish!
To all who mourn his passing--may it be my hope that in the years ahead opportunity may be yours to render to humanity some repayment for the sacrifice, and devotion that marked the life of Dr. Wilford E. Park!
Servant of God, well done!
Sincerely, by a grateful and appreciative brother,
Rev. Clifford G. Park