Woodbury County

Pvt. Wesley Albert Park




Wesley Albert Park was born in Maryfield, Saskatchewan, Canada, on 17 November 1914 to Olive Julia (Whitten) and Albert Galliton Park. In the spring of 1914, Albert, Olive and their two small daughters (Amanda Elizabeth and Laura Helen) loaded their farm machinery and livestock in railway boxcars and moved to a farm near Marysfield, Saskatchewan, Canada, to break the virgin soil.

Olive and her three young children came by train to spend Christmas, 1914, in the home of Olive’s father, John Wesley Whitten, in Sloan. While the family was gone in early January, Albert was gassed in the house in Canada when the chimney was plugged with freezing snow during a storm accompanied with temperatures down to 60 degrees below zero. His arms and feet were frozen when neighbors rescued him five days later. Both feet and two fingers had to be amputated.

After returning to Sloan, Albert was staked by his brother and a distant relative so he could design and built the K.T. Garage in 1917. The original design was unique in that there is no center support for the large (approximately 80’ x 120’) structure. Albert was agent for GMC trucks and Buick automobiles until he sold the garage in 1926. In 1928, he and his three sons, Wesley, Robert Arthur (Born 17 May 1916) and Frank Andrew (born 18 May 1918) resumed farming until his death in 1938.

Wesley attended school in Sloan, graduating in 1932. He enjoyed playing basketball and was in chorus.

Wesley met Ethel Lucille Maloney at a dance near Sioux City in the spring of 1937. They were married Easter Sunday morning, 17 April 1938, at Elk Point, South Dakota. The couple made their first home in Sioux City where their son, Kenneth Arthur, was born 31 March 1939. Wesley drove trucks for Holdcroft. Wesley’s job took the family to Cedar Rapids in January of 1940 where Arlene Elizabeth was born 7 October 1940. The family moved to Lamont, Illinois, in April 1942 when Wesley changed jobs from truck driving to working in a limestone quarry near Lincoln, Illinois. A second son, James Emery, arrived 27 May 1944 in Lincoln. October of 1944 found the family moving back to Sloan, Iowa, where Wesley owned and operated the Sloan Motor Service, hauling freight from Sloan to Sioux City.

Wesley was drafted into the Army in May of 1945 and sent to Fort Riley, Kansas, for his infantry basic training. He was transferred to Camp Fannin, Texas where he served in the motor pool. He had too many points accumulated to be shipped overseas so served in Texas until his discharge in December of 1945.

After returning home, Wesley attended night school in Sioux City to learn the plumbing trade and bought Ivan Lawrence’s well rig. He owned and operated the Park Plumbing and Well Service for 12 years. The couple’s third son, John Wesley, was born 1 December 1947 in Sioux City. In 1954 Charles Johnson became a partner in Park Plumbing and Well Service. Wesley sold the entire business to Chuck in 1957 when he passed the Cedar Rapids Journeyman’s Plumbing Examination. The family moved there in June 1957. Wesley worked for a number of companies in Cedar Rapids on everything from repair work to new construction on the nuclear power plant before his retirement in December 1977. Lucille enjoyed serving as a Blue Lady volunteer at the Iowa City Veteran’s Hospital weekly. She was awarded her 4,000 hours pin for service.

In July of 1979 the couple moved once again to Sloan to live in one of their apartments at 5th and Evans Street. They are active in the Congregational Church, American Legion and Auxiliary as well as the Shrine and Auxiliary. The cold winters are spent in warm southern Texas near San Benito living in their RV.

Submitted by his daughter, Arlene McFarland