“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
When the Heavenly Father calls a soul to rest, we must be ready to answer the call. Such was the circumstances on Saturday, June 24, 2023, when our beloved husband, father, grandfather, bother, uncle, cousin and friend, Johnnie Lee Parks, Sr. began his journey to a place of infinite tranquility; one without pain and anguish, but of eternal rest
On June 24, 2023, Johnnie answered the call, took flight, and left behind pain, worries, and cares of this world. He is now in the realm of the Celestial Shores and is in the presence of the Lord.
A native of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Johnnie was born on Tuesday, May 18, 1951 to Charlie Parks, Jr. and Dora (Johnson) Parks. Family played a key role in the development and shaping of his life.
Johnnie Lee accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior at the age of twelve May, 1963. Thus, began his life of service at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Johnnie was a faithful servant as Sunday School Superintendent for many years. Johnnie accepted his
ordination as a deacon at Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church, November 25, 1979. Johnnie Lee was proud of the fact that his father ordained him. Johnnie Lee was a devoted deacon and Financial Secretary there until his father Reverend Charlie Parks Jr. died on
December 31, 1987. Johnnie moved his membership to the Longley Baptist Church in 1989, where he was able to transfer his deaconship. His financials skills were recognized and he was appointed Financial Secretary at Longley Baptist Church as well. He later was promoted to Church Business Administrator and served until October 2014. He accepted the appointment and ordination as an Elder at the Longley Baptist Church.
Johnnie attended Coleman Elementary and Coleman High School in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He excelled in football as an offensive and
defensive tackle. He was a four-year letterman. Johnnie was also an active member of the choir, Bear Staff (the high school newspaper), Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society, and FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America).
Upon his graduation in 1969, Johnnie enrolled in AM&N College in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He worked the summer of 1969, earned enough money to pay his college tuition. He worked as a janitor to pay his tuition for the next three and a half years. This working allowed him to leave college debit free. He graduated from UAPB (formerly AM&N) with a Bachelors of Science in Accounting in May 1973. Johnnie has always had a great love for numbers and figures.
Upon graduating from college, Johnnie, moved to Little Rock, Arkansas and began working for Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department (now ARDOT) as an Internal Auditor. This job required him to travel the entire state of Arkansas. During his 35-year tenure at the Highway Department, he was recognized for his excellent work habits, skills, and knowledge of his chosen profession. Johnnie retired in 2008 as Assistant Chief of Internal Audit.
As a testament to his excellent work ethic in 2003 he received the State Employee of the Month Award presented by then Gov. Mike Huckabee. In 1986, he was awarded the Certificate of Recognition-Outstanding Citizen of the State by Gov. Bill Clinton. Johnnie was also a member of the Association of Government Accountants.
Johnnie Lee was a leader in his home, family and the community. Johnnie’s first foray into the leadership realm of service was when he was appointed after graduation, president of the Coleman High School class of 1969. Later he was voted president of the Executive Key Club. He served as president of the Central Arkansas Jaycees. He joined Toastmasters in 1981. In Toastmasters he received the following awards: Backbone Award – 1998; Otto Wenk Award – 1997-1998; Joe Roehrenbeck Award – 2005-2006. He also served as president of Hi-Noon Toastmasters Club from 2008-2009. Johnnie’s latest leadership role was president-elect of the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department Retiree Association ... he would have taken office in October 2023. Of all the notable titles and respected
positions, Johnnie most wanted to be known as a loving husband, a super father, an awesome grandfather, a proud uncle and a true friend.
On May 22, 1976, Johnnie and Veolia were united in holy matrimony. Their love story lasted for 47 years. Shortly after they were
married, Johnnie told Veolia the following, “If you will follow my lead, when it comes to savings and investments – we will not have to go fishing for our meals when we get old”. Veolia followed his lead and has found that statement to be true, as they are in their seventies, and they don’t even own a fishing pole! They have three devoted sons: Johnnie L. Parks, Jr.; Deldrick H. Parks; Jay M. Parks. Johnnie was preceded in death by his parents, Charlie and Dora Parks.
Johnnie Lee Parks, Sr. leaves an indelible imprint on the hearts and minds of the many people who connected to him. A lifetime of love and memories will be felt by his beautiful, loving, devoted and caring wife of 47 years Veolia. His devoted children; Johnnie Lee Parks, Jr. (LaTonya) of Mobile, Alabama; Deldrick Haywood Parks (Angel) of Little Rock, Arkansas; Jay Meekus Parks (Alicia) of Little Rock, Arkansas. Eleven grandchildren (Gary, Javari, Brandyn, DeShawn, DaJohn, Johnnie III, Tyranie, Tabriah, Jayda, Amaree, Jordyn). Seven great grandchildren. One brother, Donald Parks, Sr of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. A host of nieces, nephews and cousins. Four sisters-in-law (Nettie Jones, Brenda Butler, Glendine Moore, Grace Johnson). Three brothers-in-law (Harry Moore, Ray Johnson, Ronald Morris). One god daughter (Kim Wesley). Two god granddaughters. One god son (Shawn J. Russ). Special childhood friends; Levester Racy, Jerry Sykes, Reuben Matthews, Henry Bell, Earnest Fowler and Alonzo Williams. Current close friends; Henry Robinson, Jr. and James Franks, Sr.