Alice Mary Crandall Park – A Tribute

In 1975 a book was published, “Park/e/s and Bunch on the Trail West, with Allied Families: Benton, Duvall, Foster, Greenwall, Jones, Loveless and Tally”. This book (revised in 1982) is the single most significant work preserving the Foster family history. The author, Alice Mary Crandall Park (working with Avis Park Voss), was seventy-four years young at the time of its publication. She had spent years interviewing family members and researching collecting and preserving the history of her husband’s, Lee I. Park, family. Lee was the grandson of Guilford Benton Park and Susan Foster. Without Alice’s effort, there is little doubt that much of the Foster family history would have been lost.

When I first started out in tracing the Foster family tree, I had heard of Alice’s book and that it had some Foster information in it. I ran across a copy in the library and that’s the first time I saw the name, Alice Crandall Park. I was understandably excited when I discovered the amount and quality of the information in the book. This was in the late 90’s. I decided to write Alice, not knowing if she was still alive. I found her last address and sent of a letter to thank her for her book and ask for any more information she may have had on the Foster’s. To my delight she replied. Her eyesight was failing but she was in good health. She sent me what information she had on the Foster’s and encouraged me to continue my research into the Foster line.

Alice passed away in 2006 at the age of 104 years. All of us in this Foster line owe Alice our thanks to this amazing woman.

(Photo and obituary forwarded by Alice’s son, Lee Crandall Park, M.D.)

Alice Park, 104; Delighted in Genealogy

By Joe Holley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 24, 2006; B07

Alice Mary Crandall Park, 104, a homemaker and genealogist, died May 21 of pneumonia at Sibley Memorial Hospital. An area resident for more than eight decades, she had lived in the District since 1961. Earlier she had lived in Falls Church.

She became an expert genealogist after her children were grown and, at age 92, published the first of five books on her Dutch, Scottish and French Huguenot ancestors.

Although Mrs. Park had never written anything until late in life, she always had been interested in family history, in part, her son noted, because her grandmother, born in 1828, lived with the family when Mrs. Park was growing up. Mrs. Park’s great-great-grandmother was a Revolutionary War widow, a descendant of Dutch settlers in New Amsterdam (which became New York), and her stories also were part of family lore.

“When I was a little boy, I thought the Revolution had just happened,” Mrs. Park’s son said.

Despite developing macular degeneration in the early 1980s, Mrs. Park used her reading machine to continue to read, write and do genealogical research. Mrs. Park was born on a farm near Loda, Ill. In 1911, when she was 9, her family moved to San Diego, where her father developed a lemon grove. She was valedictorian of her high school graduation class and attended what is now San Diego State University, the University of Redlands and the University of California at Berkeley.

She took time out from college to work for six months on a cattle ranch in Baja California, Mexico, where she tutored the ranch children, helped round up cattle and learned Spanish from local Indian women and the rancher’s family. She received her bachelor’s degree in 1924 from the University of Chicago, where she taught at the laboratory school, and then moved to Washington with her husband, a lawyer, in 1925.

As a mother and homemaker, Mrs. Park was an expert on birds and trees, a pianist and an active member of the PTA. She was a member of the League of Women Voters and served as chairman of the Fairfax County chapter. Living on 15 acres between Falls Church and Baileys Crossroads, she raised apples, pears and cherries in the family orchard, along with blackberries, raspberries and corn. In 1961, she moved into a venerable apartment building near Glover Park in the District, where she put her green thumb to good use as chairwoman of the grounds committee. In those years, she was often down on her knees in the dirt, tending plants in the gardens around the building — so much so that a resident once commented that she was glad “finally to see Mrs. Park’s face,” having seen only her backside on previous occasions.

She spent 30 summers at the family cabin in Montana’s Beartooth Mountains and also enjoyed travel, particularly to Spain, where she loved hearing the nightingales in the gardens of the Alhambra. She spent her 101st birthday at the palace, which is in Granada.

Mrs. Park was a member of a number of patriotic and lineage organizations, including the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, the Society of Daughters of Holland Dames, the National Huguenot Society and the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Her husband, Lee I. Park, died in 1978.
Survivors include two children, Nancy Park Kern of the District and Dr. Lee Crandall Park of Baltimore; four grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
© 2006 The Washington Post Company

From the Parke Society Newsletter, Issue 2005 – Vol. 41 No. 1:

Hearty Congratulations!

Long-time Society member Mrs. Alice Crandall Park #466, of Washington, D.C., observed her ONE HUNDRED AND THIRD birthday on October 4, 2004. Our sincere congratulations and best wishes on this occasion! We have read that more and more people are living into their tenth and eleventh decades, but it is still a noteworthy achievement.

As reported in the Newsletter, 2002 Vol. 39 No. 2, page 20, Alice Mary Crandall was born on October 4, 2001, at Loda, Illinois, a daughter of Frederick Adam and Sarah Elizabeth Clemens Crandall. Miss Crandall married Lee Isaac Park #121 (1895-1979) on August 29, 1925. A senior partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm of Hamel, Park, McCabe & Saunders, Mr. Park worked as a tax attorney. (Newsletter, 1978 Vol. 15 No. 3, p. 40; 1979 Vol. 16 No. 1, p. 2.) The Parks had two children, Lee Crandall Park, M.D. #834, of Lutherville, MD, and Nancy Alice (Mrs. John W., III) Kern of Westgate, MD, and several grandchildren.

Mrs. Park has earned the gratitude of a number of Park/e/s researchers by publishing, in cooperation with Avis Park Voss, Park/e/s and Bunch on the Trail West, with Allied Families: Benton, Duvall, Foster, Greenwall, Jones, Loveless and Tally (1975) (432 pp., indexed, with charts, Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD) (Newsletter, 1978 Vol. 15 No. 2, p. 22). In the Park line, this work begins with Lee I. Park’s ancestor Nathan Park, who was born in 1717 in Hunterdon Co., N.J., married Mary -?-, and died on February 2, 1785, in Rowan Co., N.C. Nathan and Mary had several children, including particularly Charles Park, who was born in Hunterdon Co., N.J., in 1747, moved to Rowan Co., N.C., married Catherine E. Pew, and died in Madison Co., KY, in October of 1820. Nathan followed his son to Rowan County, where he died as mentioned. From Charles, the lineage is from Charles, Jr., through James Quick Park and Guilford Benton Park, to Thomas Benton Park who married Martha Jane Bunch. Thomas and Martha were the parents of Lee I. Park.

What were the origins of Nathan Park? It is difficult to be sure, but … (page 4)