Margaret L. "Eggie" Parke, 89, reunited with the love of her life, Pearl "Juby" Parke, passing peacefully on Jan. 17, 2018, in Florida with her son Tracy Parke by her side.
An independent, free spirit, Margaret was born Nov. 14, 1928, in Pontiac, Ill., the daughter of Andrew and Reta Fraher Eggenberger.
"Eggie," as she came to be known, spent her early childhood in Saunemin, Ill. Though small in stature, Eggie was relatively unaware of that fact, unless others reminded her, thinking it fun to tease. But "few ventured a second time," she once wrote for a graduate school assignment.
Eggie graduated from Pontiac Township High School in 1946, and her teacher, Lucille Goodrich, urged her to enter college. At Illinois State University, she gained confidence through studies and women's sports under the guidance of Dr. Esther French and others. She graduated in 1950 and began teaching at Georgetown High School, where she met Juby, a counselor and football coach who encouraged her independent nature. They married Aug. 10, 1952, and Tracy Lee Parke was born Nov. 3, 1954.
A teacher shortage drew Eggie back to the classroom at Ridge Farm High School where Juby was teaching and coaching. In 1964, they moved to the Bismarck-Henning school district. She and Juby both taught at the high school, and he coached football. He entrusted "Eggie" to scout the team's future opponents. With a knowledge and love of athletics, it was an assignment she eagerly embraced.
It was not her style to be idle.
Energetic and lively with a sharp mind, quick wit and infectious laugh, Eggie loved talking and visiting with her family and many friends and neighbors, sharing an opinion or a story along the way. Her father would tease that the doctor vaccinated her with a phonograph needle. "Even if I couldn't be seen, I could always be heard," Eggie wrote.
She loved teaching from the day she started, and despite her petite frame, she could command a classroom. A physical education major turned English teacher, Eggie championed proper grammar, and the regular practice of students diagramming sentences on the chalkboard. Among the grammar lessons, she also encouraged her students to think for themselves.
In 1971, her life abruptly changed course when leukemia quickly stole Juby. Down but not defeated, Eggie continued teaching and returned to school in her spare time, earning a Master's of Education in administration at the UI in 1976.
Succeeding her husband, Eggie was athletic director at BHHS for 17 years, becoming the first female AD in Illinois. She was Teacher of the Year twice at BHHS and received the Illinois Teaching Award of Excellence in 1976. A beloved teacher, she influenced and mentored many and was extremely proud of the achievements of her former students, who will greatly miss her.
She was a Cubs fan and enjoyed politics, serving as Newell Township trustee for one term and township clerk for more than two terms.
After her retirement from teaching in 1989, she helped her son, Tracy, in his Standardbred horse business and was elated when their horse, Aunt Fernie, took the Illinois racing award for 3-year-old fillies in 1998.
In 2002, she moved to Charlotte Harbor, Fla., with Tracy, who stood by her through many rough times and loved her dearly.
She was preceded in death by Juby; her parents; her brother, John Eggenberger; an aunt, Pearl Gray; and an uncle, Harold Fraher. She's survived by her son, Tracy (Tracy Marie) Parke of Placida, Fla.; a sister-in-law, Bernalice Soard of Dana, Ind.; and numerous cousins and cherished friends.
A celebration of Eggie's life will be at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, January 27, at Sunset Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Danville. Visitation will be 1-2:30 p.m. prior to the service. Burial will take place at Sunset Memorial Park in Danville.
Please join Eggie's family in sharing photos and memories on her Tribute Wall at www.sunsetfuneralhome.com
Published on January 22, 2018