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Curtis “Gene” Park, 81, of Columbia died peacefully at home June 11, 2012 secondary to pancreatic cancer.
He was born in Kaufman, Texas December 10, 1930 to Curtis and Pansy Pearl Park. He grew up with his family in Dallas, Texas and his extended family on his grandfather’s share cropped farm. At age 17 he joined the Marine Corps, where he was honored to work as an MP. Upon completion of service he married his beloved, Joan Venters, on March 14, 1952. Curtis graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in petroleum engineering in 1957 and then moved to Oklahoma to begin his 35 year distinguished career with Oklahoma Natural Gas Company.
He was a grand tinkerer and Jack-of-all-trades, at points personally building a beautiful lake front family home, a gazebo for his daughter’s wedding, and a fiberglass boat that spectacularly sank on its maiden voyage.
Curtis was an avid outdoor enthusiast and guided his family through many grand adventures. He led his sons on an impromptu hike down and up the Grand Canyon in one day while sporting new cowboy boots. On another occasion, to the dismay of border guards, he drove his family of 5 in an old jeep over the steep banks and through the shallow waters of the Rio Grande.
He retired at age 62 with his wife to his nirvana of Winter Park, Colorado to better enjoy hiking, skiing, biking and horseback riding.
In 2002 Curtis and Joan moved to mid-Missouri to be closer to family. He was a master storyteller and never met a stranger on his many daily walks with his beloved dog Boomer.
His mischievous and enterprising spirit shall be missed. Family and friends will gather in Colorado at a future date to honor the wonderful life of Curtis Park and scatter his ashes from Byer’s Peak.
Online condolences may be left at www.heartlandcremation.com. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society.