Dr. MaryParke Edwards Manning (Parkie) passed away at home in her sleep at the age of 99, on September 1, 2021, in Rochester, NY. She is survived by her four children, Deane (Michelle), Tom (Randi), and Foster (Leslie) Manning, and Elizabeth (Bill) Stevens, 8 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren. She was predeceased, by two months, by her husband of 74 years, Dr. James Manning.
Parkie was born in Bronxville, NY, and grew up there and in Rye, NY. She graduated from Vassar College in the class of 1944, and received her medical degree from Columbia University in 1948. It was there that she met her husband, Jim, who was a classmate.
Parkie first came to Rochester in 1950 for a medical residency. She and Jim, both of whom had family roots in northern NY, returned to Rochester for good in 1955 after they had completed their medical training.
Parkie became the director of the pediatric clinic of Genesee Hospital in 1957, and stepped away from active medical practice in 1962 to raise her children. She became a full-time mom, but also launched into decades of volunteer civic and public health activities. She was elected to two terms on the Penfield School Board and was active in the League of Women Voters. She was President of the Board of the regional Planned Parenthood chapter, and served on the Boards of the Finger Lakes Health Systems Planning Agency (now Common Ground Health) and the Al Sigl Center. She was active in the United Way and other causes, as well, serving them all in her quiet, understated and determined fashion.
Parkie loved nature and the out-of-doors, and she was a leader in the creation of the Thousand-Acre Swamp nature preserve in Penfield. She was a birder, a hiker and a camper. She studied botany as a hobby, and catalogued the wildflowers along the Whale River near Ungava Bay in northern Quebec, where she and Jim went salmon fishing many times. Parkie was an enthusiastic tennis player, and she enjoyed hitting balls with her children and friends into her mid-90s. With the help of caring home health aides, whom we thank from the bottom of our hearts, she was able to stay in her home, see visitors, and have dinner with friends until literally her last day.
Parkie leaves behind a great extended family and many friends. She was well-loved, and her devotion to family and friends, and service to community and nature, will live in our memories and hearts forever.
In remembrance of Parkie’s life and her passionate support of many causes, please consider donations to Planned Parenthood of Central and Western NY or Habitat for Humanity International.