She was born October 27, 1927, in Three Rivers, Mich., to the late William J. and Elva (Trickey) Simpson. She married Lawrence Y. Park on June 13, 1953, in Kalamazoo. He preceded her in death on August 8, 2007.
Mary graduated from J.W. Sexton High School in Lansing in 1945, and went on to Michigan State University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in social work in 1950. She also attended Western Michigan University and received her master’s degree in education from Grand Valley State University around 1984. She began her social work career at the Kalamazoo Regional Psychiatric Hospital in 1951. After moving to Grand Haven in 1956, she took a temporary position selling colored telephones for AT&T, worked as a substitute teacher for Grand Haven Area Public Schools, and also taught children with Down syndrome at the Haven Center. She was a real estate agent for a short time for Rycenga’s Real Estate in the late 1970s. In 1972, she joined Ottawa County Community Mental Health until 1986. She spent her last several years of service once again making visits to Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital as an Ottawa County liaison.
She and her husband, Larry, enjoyed traveling and spending time together. After retirement, they became passionate about genealogy research. They joined the local group of researchers as well as many others, further afield. Mary also served on the Board of the North Ottawa Council on Aging and was a member of the Lakeland Painters Club. Mary enjoyed reading, cooking and watching basketball games, especially the Detroit Pistons.
Mary will be lovingly remembered and missed by her daughter, Becky (Chris VanBennekom) Park of Grand Haven; sons, Jeffrey Park of Grand Haven and Timothy Daniel (Sharon) Park of Grand Ledge; grandchildren: Douglas, James and Zoe VanBennekom; several nieces and nephews; and dear friend and caregiver, Lisa Bergman.
A Graveside Memorial Service for Mary will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, July 5, 2019, at Lake Forest Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be given to Hospice of North Ottawa Community or the Loutit District Library. Please visit www.klaassenfuneralhome.com to sign Mary’s online guestbook.