“A Life Lived in Cox’s Cove” is the title of book Alex Park was hoping to finish before he died.
He could not, but his family did.
Deceased four years this month, Mr. Park is foremostly remembered a born-again Christian, his unfinished work now complete as a posthumous tribute to a well-respected patriarch and well-known local businessman whose life story reached well beyond the small town where he was born in 1941.
The autobiography of Alexander Samuel Park is part personal memoir and part historical recount of the life and times of the Bay of Islands collected from other sources. It also includes family photographs and quotes from the King James version of “The Holy Bible.”
There are personal entries from his wife of 52 years and his seven children, as well as poems dedicated from within the fellowship of Emmanuel Pentecostal Church.
First daughter, Corrina wrote, among her other endearing words, that she “will never forget” her mom and dad walking her down the aisle to be married.
Fourth son Rodney expressed thankfulness for his father “giving so unselfishly” and for “all the times you were there.”
Co-authored by Burton Janes, a retired pastor residing in Bay Roberts, and published by Bounty Print in St. John’s, the 160-page paperback is being freely shared among Mr. and Mrs. Park’s extended family.
The $20 limited edition is also seen being eagerly sought out by interested friends and neighbours, among others who came to know the businessman, a soul who also stood tall as a community leader and former mayor.
Politically and socially active, he also served on the town’s recreation committee which enabled construction of the Marshall-Moores Arena there, as well as working with the regionally focused but now defunct North Shore Bay of Islands Development Association.
Darren, third eldest among Mr. and Mrs. Park’s five sons and two daughters, said his father had no intention of making any profit from his book.
“He would have given it all to charity,” he said, noting that his father wanted to have 20 copies of the book for distribution to provincial public libraries.
A second edition will be published should demand dictate, he said.
Island Roofing Co. Ltd., a family business among the six companies the late Mr. Park and his wife co-founded and co-operated in through five decades — before turning controlling interest in the former over to sons Darren and Donald in 2005 — continues to be a strong enterprise doing work around Newfoundland and Labrador.
The initial writings of the book were done “in bits and pieces,” which saw co-author Janes make several trips to Cox’s Cove to do taped interviews for the record.
The project also offered Mr. Park the chance to travel and visit his youngest daughter, Shelley, who also lives in Bay Roberts. In waning health after a time in hospital, his last trip there, accompanied by Mona and youngest son Steve, happened just days before he died at home in Cox’s Cove on November 20, 2013.
After his father’s passing, the family decided to see Mr. Park’s wishes through “because it’s what dad wanted to do,” son Darren said. “That was his dream. He wanted to write a book. He always talked about writing a book.”
With memories to hold on to, the book ends in a eulogy given by eldest child Barry at his father’s funeral, saying he has “left a great legacy for us … to love one another, help our neighbour but, most of all, love and serve God.”