Gift-loving family matriarch Cecilia (Hager) Parkos received her greatest gift of eternal life in heaven on January 22, 2023 with her family by her side. She was 94 years old.

As a woman who asserted her independence and was full of sparkle, Cecilia was born appropriately on the 4th of July, at her home in Selz, North Dakota, to John and Magdalena Hager. She was the third eldest of 12 children and dutifully helped raise her sisters and brothers and performed the perpetual chores of the farm and kitchen. She attended country school until eighth grade and then, in her late teens, worked in the kitchen and dining room at ND School for the Deaf in Devils Lake. The missing years of schooling did not limit Cecilia in her adult life. She was a Proverbs 31 woman through and through, wise and dedicated in her ability to help support her family.

Cecilia met Donald Parkos at a barn dance. Several dances, movies and loops around the roller rink later, the two were married at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Devils Lake on June 14, 1949, which was the first year National Flag Day was observed in Devils Lake. Cecilia and Don liked to think the flags lining the streets were flying to celebrate their wedding. Their union was blessed with six children. In 1962, after a hailstorm devastated their farm in Crary, ND, the family moved to a small farm south of Park Rapids, Minnesota where they raised cattle, oats, hay and corn, and milks a few cows.

With a farming income not meeting the needs of a family of eight, despite a huge garden and a sewing machine on the kitchen table that hummed late into the night, Cecilia took a full-time job in 1964 to help make ends meet. She excelled as a sewing machine operator and instructor for 18 years at Ringer Manufacturing, a garment factory that produced outdoor clothing in Park Rapids. In 1982, she moved on to another full-time job at Sunset Nursing Home, also in Park Rapids, working two years in laundry and six years in dietetics, until retiring in 1990. Shortly after they retired , Don and Cecilia sold their farm and moved to Pengilly, Minnesota, where they enjoyed taking many bus tours across the United States, participating in church life, watching their grandchildren and reuniting with family.

It was a life of no work and no play. Cecilia enjoyed a good joke, baking (especially Sally Ann cookies), card games, engaging a house full of grandchildren for summer camps. week-long summer and wedding dances. At family weddings, she was always the first on the dance floor to bring the others into the circle for the “Chicken Dance”.

Cecilia’s passion for using her sewing skills during her retirement years has extended beyond colorful runners, quilts and potholders for the family to quilts for church missions and pockets for wheelchairs for those who needed a helping hand. She also spent many years participating in the “Gilly Girls” Red Hat Society in Pengilly, volunteering at Leisure Hills Health Care Center in Hibbing, Minnesota, the retirement home where Don spent his final days, and running groups of seniors in exercise. using the Bone Builders program. His well-worn hands are a testament to his strong work ethic and devotion to his family.

After Don’s death in 2003, Cecilia moved first to Baxter, Minnesota, then to Crosslake, Minnesota. Her final home was Green Pine Acres Retirement Home in Menahga, Minnesota, where she received exceptional care as the staff and family together lovingly supported her. navigate the changes brought about by dementia.

Cecilia is survived by her children, Rick (Margene) Parkos of Bemidji, Minn., Debbie (Henry) Clauson of Crosslake, Minn., Gary (Julie) Parkos of Nevis, Minn., Sandy (Tom) Gaumer of Logansport, Ind. . , and Lori (Bill) Lymburner of Osage, Minnesota; brothers Ray (Rosa) Hager and Ken (Judy) Hager; sister Maggie Evanson; 16 grandchildren; 35 great-grandchildren; and four great-great-grandchildren.

Cecilia is predeceased by her beloved husband of 54 years, Don; his son, Donald Jr., who died in a car accident in 1979 and his son, Jason, who lost his battle with lung cancer in 2015; great-grandchildren Grant and Wyatt Parkos, twins who died shortly after birth; his parents; his mother and stepfather Frances and John Parkos; brothers Mike Hager and Jack Hager, sisters Irene Streifel, Bernice Bays, Agatha Baker, Elizabeth Jorgenson and younger sisters Cecilia and Mary.

While preparing her memoir in 2000, Cecilia said her understanding of God’s love is that it is “to love someone more than yourself”. It is this sacrificial love that she molded that will live on in the hearts of all who were lucky enough to know her. “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:21a

Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Jones-Pearson Funeral Home, 608 Park Ave. S., Park Rapids. Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, January 27 at the funeral home with a rosary at 7:30 p.m. St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church, 305 5th St. W., Park Rapids. Cecilia will be buried next to her husband at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Cemetery in the spring.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Cecilia’s memory may be made to Care of the Family or directly to Apple Tree Dental for their mobile clinics which provide dental care to seniors and others who, without this essential service, may have to go. spend care. (www.appletreedental.org/mission/give-now/), or the Greenwood Connections Trust Fund for Enhancing Activities for Resident Enjoyment at Green Pine Acres Nursing Home (www.greenwoodconnections.com).



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