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|Subject: Arlene Rogers Park, piano teacher|
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Date Posted: November 29, 2008 12:29:24 EDT
My husband took lessons from her, growing up in Lithonia. Rest in Peace, Mrs. Park, and thank you! My husband plays beautifully.
During the silent movie era, Arlene Rogers Park played piano at a Lithonia movie theater. “She played piano all over Lithonia, any time they asked her,” said her daughter, Brenda Park Dodl. “She just had a love for it.”
Mrs. Park lived for 88 years in a house on College Avenue in Lithonia that her father built. She taught piano to many of Lithonia’s youth over 40 of those years. Mrs. Park died Tuesday at age 100 at an Abingdon, Va., hospital after suffering heart failure following a brief illness. She had moved to Virginia to be closer to her only child, Mrs. Dodl.
Two of her students will perform at her funeral at noon today at the chapel of Henry Funeral Home in Lithonia. The family will receive friends today from 10:30 a.m. until noon at the funeral home.
Mrs. Park’s religious life began at birth, her daughter said.
“In 1908 when she was born, her father put her name on the cradle roll at Lithonia First United Methodist Church,” Mrs. Dodl said.
She served as the church’s organist and choir director for two decades and “had the love of God in her heart and poured out that love on everybody,” Mrs. Dodl said.
Mrs. Park also enjoyed painting china, which she would give as wedding gifts to her friends, relatives and former piano students.
In the 1960s, Mrs. Park and her husband, the late Hugh Park, flew to Germany and bought a Volkswagen camper that they drove all over Europe. They arranged to have the camper brought back to the United States, Mrs. Dodl said, and they set out to explore America. Mrs. Park loved the west coast and the mountains and was thrilled to drive that VW all the way into Alaska, he daughter said.
“They talked about that trip an awful lot,” Mrs. Dodl said. “She had a good sense of humor and laughed a lot. We spent many Christmases and camping trips together.”
Lithonia resident Andrea King, one of Park’s cousins, remembered the couple bringing back Alaskan salmon they caught and canned themselves.
“She just had the ability to bring out the best in the people around her and to encourage them to be better than they were,” Mrs. King said. “She just made life better. And she and her husband were so close. I remember someone telling me they wished to have a marriage like theirs. They were always holding hands and walking together in the evenings.” Mrs. King’s husband, Hal King, will serve as one of the pallbearers.
“She was a Christian lady, very religious,” Mr. King said. “She’s where she belongs now, I promise you. She’s probably on a cloud somewhere up there wondering why everyone is so sad.”
Mrs. Dodl said her mother had no fear of death.
“She was aware of me right until the very end,” she said. “We shared Scriptures and talked about the Lord and Heaven and being with Jesus. It was just a beautiful and precious time. I was cheering her on, and she had no fear.”
In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Park’s survivors include three grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
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