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Lemuel Stephens 'Steve' Parks

May 31, 2023


Lemuel Stephens Parks ("Steve") of Cleveland, Tenn., passed away at home on May 31, 2023.

He was born on January 23, 1942 to the late Lemuel Alfred Parks and Mary Stephens Parks. In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by a sister Mary Ann Parks.

He was 81 years old and in all those years never ran out of things to say. He was dearly loved and will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Steve grew up on a dairy farm in Normandy, Tenn. He was very active in 4-H and spent his summers going to 4-H camp at Camp Woodlee, which became his lifelong passion. His 4-H friends and the Camp Woodlee Alumni Association were deeply important to him.

He graduated from Belmont University with a degree in Political Science, where he was elected "Mr. Belmont". He later attended Middle Tennessee State College (now MTSU) and was a classically trained vocalist. He sang at innumerable churches, weddings, and funerals. He also performed with the Boston Pops Orchestra. At last count, he sang in over 400 weddings.

He had a very varied career, from teaching at Webb School to sales to politics to association management. He was also special assistant to Governor Buford Ellington.

Steve invested in people. He took countless youth under his wing and would pour time and resources into them. His friends were everything to him. He loved nothing more than good fellowship, especially if food was involved. He loved catching up with people, taking the annual guys trip to Camp Woodlee with his "Shelbyville guys", singing anywhere and everywhere, listening to classical music and opera, playing canasta, and thinking of reasons to call people.

He leaves behind to cherish his memory his sister Peggy Parks Bryan (Paul) and their children: Peggy Delaney (Ken), Parks Bryan, Patsy Vaden (Bryan), and Polly Simons (Tim); his adopted son David McAlister (Rhonda) and children Daniel McAlister (Ashley) and Tiffany McAlister (Dustin), Jack Sanders and family, and all of his close friends who he considered family.

A special thanks is owed to those who helped him later in life: Jakie and Vanessa Starnes, Jakie's posse of buddies, and Blake Walker.

Steve's family will receive friends on Sunday, June 18, from 3 - 4 p.m. (EST) at New Friendship Baptist Church in Cleveland with a Celebration of Life service to follow at 4 p.m. (EST). Following the service, as a nod to Steve's favorite things, everyone is invited to stay for a meal and visiting in the church fellowship hall with the famous "Camp Woodlee Chicken" on the menu.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been set up for Steve and donations can be made online at: https://gofund.me/dc505193 You are invited to share a personal memory of Steve or your condolences with his family at his online memorial located at www.companionfunerals.com.