Lyle R. "Parky" Parkhurst, 80, of 609 Pine St., died at 2:25 a.m. Wednesday (February 9, 2005) in WCA Hospital due to complications caused by cancer.
He was born in December 18, 1924, in Pennsylvania, and raised by Stanley M. and Buelah M. Sweet Parkhurst.
Prior to retirement, he operated the Jamestown division of the former Walker Creamery Products, Warren, for 19 years. It later became the Meadow Brook Dairy for which he delivered milk products all over the Jamestown area for many years. In earlier years, he had been employed by the former Art Metal, Inc. During his working years, he played amateur baseball, umpired baseball and officiated basketball.
An avid sports enthusiast, he will be most fondly remembered for his love of baseball as a player, coach and umpire for almost his entire life. He was one of the few pitchers to go from junior high school baseball to professional baseball when he signed with the Jamestown Falcons in 1941. Besides Jamestown, his professional career took him to places like Buffalo of the International League in 1943, Asheville, NC of the Class B Tri-State League, Pueblo, CO of the Western League, Rock Hill, SC and finally to Olean of the PONY League before retiring in 1951. His greatest thrill as a player was giving up a home run to Hall of Famer Stan Musial in 1946.
Following his playing days, he returned to Jamestown where it all began and decided to continue umpiring. He umpired for 2 seasons in the PONY League and locally for high schools, MUNY League, County Grape Belt League, Little League and Babe Ruth League. He was the host umpire for the first ever 13-year-old Babe Ruth World Series held in Jamestown in 1980 and also served as a marshal in the Babe Ruth World Series parade. In recent years, he was a coach for Jock Shop in the Babe Ruth League. The Jamestown babe Ruth League named its Junior Umpire Award "The Lyle Parkhurst Junior Umpire Award". The award is given to a junior umpire who best exemplifies the spirit of umpiring that Lyle had. He will also be remembered as a great teacher of the game of baseball. During each game he was umpiring, he would instruct young players how to pitch correctly and how to swing the bat. It was his desire to see young players perform at a high level. His keen wit, sense of humor and his love of the game will be remembered forever.
He was a member of the Levant Wesleyan Church, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, where he was recently honored for 20 years of service, the American Association of Retired Persons, the Hot Stove League, the Chautauqua County Baseball Umpires' Association, of which he served as president for many years, the Chautauqua County Softball Umpires' Association, a 50 year member of the New York State Baseball Umpires Association, a life member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and a former member of Board 39, International Association of Approved Basketball Officials of Chautauqua County.
He was one of the 10 initial inductees into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame in 1982. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Chautauqua Sports hall of Fame and a loyal volunteer at the Hall of Fame for many years. This year's Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame Banquet will be held in honor and loving memory of Lyle Parkhurst.
He was also a long-time volunteer for WCA Hospital, where he was a volunteer in the Radiology Department for more than 22 years, bringing his uplifting spirit to many patients and employees of the hospital.
He is survived by his wife, Patricia "Pat" Wiltsie, whom he married June 16, 1972,; two sons: Thomas Parkhurst of Ashville and Gregory Parkhurst of Lakewood; four grandchildren: Corey Parkhurst of Cleveland, Jessica Parkhurst of Miami, Jennifer Parkhurst of North Carolina, and Kimberly Parkhurst of Jamestown; three great-grandchildren; a stepson Robert Dixon of Westland, MI; two stepdaughters: Sally Matheson and JoAnn Weilacher, both of Westland; and four step-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a sister, Iva Parkhurst.
A private family service will be held in the Lind Funeral Home. The rev. Howard E. Garver, pastor of the Levant Wesleyan Church, will officiate. Burial will be in the Lake View Cemetery.
Friends will be received from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday in the funeral home.
Memorials may be made to the Levant Wesleyan Church, 1670 Lindquist Dr., Falconer, NY 14733; or the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, P.O. Box 1192, Jamestown, NY 14702-1192.
The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.