Deborah Ann Park, 72, of Marathon, NY, passed away peacefully on Saturday, July 16 2022, after a courageous battle with endometrial cancer. She was surrounded by her devoted husband of 51 years and her loving family.
Deb was born in Margaretville, NY on December 11, 1949; the daughter of Robert John Ford and Marilyn Ruth Ford. She graduated from Onteora Central High School, received her Associates Degree from Ulster County Community College and then her Bachelor of Science Degree from SUNY Brockport.
While attending Ulster County Community College, Debbie fell in love with one of her biology classmates, Richard Park, from Woodstock, NY. Rich and Deb married on August 28, 1971 and began their life’s journey together. While her family was her greatest joy, Deb was also an avid nature lover with a thirst for adventure. As a child, Deb enjoyed hiking, skiing, camping and sports. She spent many summer afternoons with her friends, swimming at the Green Bridge in Mount Tremper and remembered popping tar bubbles on the pavement with her bare feet while walking home for dinner.
Deb’s adventuresome spirit continued throughout her life. In 1982, Deb and Rich built their home in Mount Tremper, where they raised their three children. As a homemaker, she taught her children to appreciate the many things that nature had to offer. She constantly reminded them to “take it all in”. Whether it was hiking to the top of Mount Tobias for fresh blueberries in their morning pancakes, going on bike hikes to Woodland Valley, tubing the Esopus, skiing at Cortina Valley or camping at Forked Lake, Deb instilled in her children to value the sense of wonderment and peace that nature has to offer.
She worked as a part time clerk for the U.S. Postal Service in Mount Tremper and Phoenicia, NY and enjoyed visiting with friends and neighbors that came in. She was a remarkable seamstress and volunteered her time sewing costumes at the STS playhouse. She also loved finding a good “treasure” at a thrift store.
After raising their children, Deb and Rich had a new dream; moving west to see the open skies. In the summer of 2002, they packed up their horses and traveled to Idaho to start their next adventure. While Rich worked for the Forest Service and later, Idaho Fish and Game, Deb ran a cleaning business in Sun Valley. In her spare time, Deb delighted in seeing new things and exploring new places. Whether it was panning for gold, soaking in a hot spring or exploring a winding river in their canoe, Deb faithfully remembered to live each day to the fullest. After retiring, Deb and Rich set out in their RV to volunteer as camp hosts at various state and national parks throughout the west. They traveled with their beloved pets, Sheppy, Jackie, Buttercup and Henry( who they rescued as a kitten from the trunk of a car in Henry’s Lake State Park). Throughout her experiences, Deb never tired of meeting new and interesting people, and seeing wild and beautiful places. She often commented on how lucky she felt to have had the opportunity to see so much of the country.
She is survived by her husband, Richard Park; two sons, Matthew and Harley Park, a daughter, Jennifer Haaland (Kenneth), of Marathon, NY; two grandchildren, Megan Haaland and Sam Haaland; her father, Robert Ford, of Mount Tremper; two brothers, Mark(Jody) and Wayne(Julie) Ford, sisters in law Carol Anne Smith and Harriet Chauncey(Dale); and brother in law, Kenneth Hefty(Paula) and several nieces and nephews.
It was Deb's wish to donate her body to the Upstate Medical University as part of the Anatomical Gift Program so that others may continue to learn. Expressions of sympathy in her memory may be directed to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 6704, Hagerstown, MD 21741.