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Betty L. Torain

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Goodbye Mr. Parks.
Friday, March 17, 2006  7:24:00 AM

by Betty L. Torain



Inspirational
One final welcome home, then goodlye.

More than 1,000 attend funeral for Mr. Gordon Parks March 16, in Fort Scott Kansas,where Gordon Parks was born, family, friends and a governor bade farewell to the son who spun his life into gold.

Young, old, black, white, wealthy and not packed the First Presbyterian Church, one of the town's biggest, for the 90-minute service.

Parks, an internationally known photographer and filmmaker, died last week in his New York apartment 93.

Longtime friend and actor Avery Brooks brought many to tears as he sang the theme from Parks' first movie "The Learning Tree," which Park filmed in Fort Scott. Park also wrote the song's lyrics, which conjure images of the prairie land he loved.

Parks' son David, said that in the days before his father died, he made his son promise many things. One of those last requested came true Thursday: "Take me home."

Parks was buried at the town's Evergreen Cemetery, near his mother and father.

In the end it was his daughter, Toni Parks, wearing a week's grief on her face, who reminded the crowd of the real tragedy of the day. She read one of her father's numerous poems, a work called "The Huge Silence."

Whe she finished . she said: "My huge silence is never to hear my father say my name."

Goodbye Mr. Parks.†

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