Darla Parkes



Darla Jean Parkes, 81, California, passed away Saturday, May 7, 2022, at Capital Regional Medical Center in Jefferson City.

She was born Oct. 31, 1940, to the late Noel and Eileen (Dewing) Vaughn in Cuba.

She was united in marriage to Charles William Parkes May 20, 1973, at Christy Memorial United Methodist Church in St. Louis. After her marriage, the couple moved to Linn where Darla participated in local and state activities, including earning several gold, silver and bronze medals in the state Show-Me games.

She was a member of Young Farm Wives and supported her husband in his many agricultural and educational endeavors until his death in 2008.

When Darla was young her family moved to St. Louis. There she attended Adams Elementary and Roosevelt High Schools. She received her Associate of Arts degree from Harris College in St. Louis, (now Harris-Stowe State University) where she served as the sophomore class vice-president and as vice-president of Phi Rho Kappa Sorority. She received her Bachelor of Journalism and her Masters of Library and Information Science degrees from the University of Missouri, Columbia.

Darla was a member of Sigma Tau Delta, honorary English fraternity and Beta Phi Mu, International Library Science Honor Society. She was also a member of Barbee Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star (now Friendship Chapter #24), several genealogical societies and Christy Memorial United Methodist Church in St. Louis where she served as a youth leader for several years. Darla was a member of the United Methodist Church and United Methodist Women of California and several Missouri, American and Special Library Associations. Her biography has been included in the “World Who’s Who of Woman” and many library and information technology biographies and directories.

She was employed as Advertising Manager of Bethany Press at Christian Board of Publications, then as a children’s librarian in the St. Louis Public library system. Darla served as a reference librarian at the Missouri State Library for more than 26 years when she retired. Her poetry and articles have been published in local and national periodicals.

She was preceded in death by much-loved husband, Charley; and parents, Noel and Eileen.

Darla is survived by daughters, Sharon Payne and husband Jamon and Debra Dunham and husband Chris; grandchildren, Kendra Dunham-Foss and husband Colton, Landen Dunham and Cliff Payne; brother, Rev. Gerald “Jerry” Vaughn and wife Jan; niece Karen and husband Nick; and great-niece, Zooey.

Darla was a beautiful soul who strove to be Christ-like and succeeded. As her husband once wrote about her, she was “one who offers everything and asks for nothing”. She felt deeply and shared love with those around her and enriched their lives in many ways. Because of her strength, Darla will continue to bless the lives of those who love her. She is profoundly loved and will be greatly missed.

Funeral services were held Friday, May 13, at Bowlin-Cantriel Funeral Services with Pastor Nicholas Van Dam officiating. Interment was at the California City Cemetery.

Memorial contributions suggested to the California Nutrition Center or the California United Methodist Church.

Arrangements entrusted to Bowlin-Cantriel Funeral Services in California.