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Serving Opelika, Auburn, and Lee County since 1988



Dr. Paul Franklin Parks

November 9, 1933 ~ April 22, 2018 (age 84)

     Paul Franklin Parks, former Auburn University Provost passed away on April 22, 2018.  A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church in Auburn Saturday, April 28th at 3:00.  Dr. Parks passed away Sunday April 22, at his home in Auburn surrounded by family members.  Paul was preceded in death by his parents,  Annie Ruth Edwards Parks and James Williams Parks of Opelika, and his brother James  Williams Parks, Jr. of Jessup, GA.  He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Gaynell Bailey Parks.  
     Paul was born in Opelika on November 9, 1933, the oldest of three boys.  A Cliff high school graduate, Paul then received a Bachelor of Science as well as a Master of Science from Auburn University.  He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Texas A&M University where he also remained to serve on the faculty. In 1965 Dr. Parks returned to Auburn to serve as an Associate Professor.

     He later was appointed Dean of the Graduate School. In 1981, Dr. Parks was named Vice President of Research. While in this position, competitive contract and grant support for research at AU increased from $6.1 million to $29.8 million.
    In 1993 Dr. Parks became Auburn University's first Provost. As Provost, Dr. Parks'  abilities as a leader and his vast experience as a researcher allowed him to provide a rich educational experience for students at Auburn University. Dr. Parks was instrumental in Auburn's transition from focus primarily upon undergraduate education to its current status as a major comprehensive university and research center.

    In addition to being an energetic teacher, an active researcher and a visionary administrator, Paul provided leadership and support for numerous professional organizations and societies, including serving on the Rural Studio Board of Directors.  Dr. Parks' career at AU spanned the tenure of five University Presidents.

      After retiring in 1993 Dr. Parks was a driving force behind the Industrial Development Board of the City of Auburn for nearly 25 years. During his time as Chairman of the Board 45 companies located to Auburn.  In recognition of his service a  street in Industrial Park was named Paul Parks Lane.

      He was also actively involved as a board member and advisor for the Child Care Resource Center, Auburn 2000 and Lee County Youth Development Board. In addition he served as an Elder and on several committees at First Presbyterian Church in Auburn.  He was also a member of various  professional and philanthropic organizations including Phi Kappa Phi, Gamma Sigma Delta and Rotary Club.

     He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Gaynell, his son Dr. Paul F. Parks, Jr., of Los Angeles, CA, daughters Angelia Hunsucker (Fred), of Birmingham, Amy Ritter (Dale), of East Greenwich, RI, Carrie Walthall (Hardwick) of Birmingham, eight grandchildren, Bailey Reed, Fred Hunsucker, Jr., Alexandra Hunsucker, Victoria Hunsucker, Paul Ritter, Lucy Walthall, Parks Walthall, Jack Walthall and great-granddaughter Harper Reed. In addition, Paul is survived by his brother Kenneth Parks (Gayle) as well as numerous nieces and nephews. 

     The family would like to thank the kind caregivers, Shawana Bentley, Shelia Upshaw, Carrie Gillard, and Ethal Harris.

    In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be directed to the Dr. Paul Franklin Parks Endowed Scholarship at Auburn University:

Auburn Foundation 

317 South College Street

Auburn, AL 36849 

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