Irene Louise Parks-Stahly was born December 21, 1946 in Caldwell, Idaho, to Alvin and Dorothy Harris.
Within a few years the family moved to Quincy, Washington, where Irene experienced her first personal miraculous answer to prayer. But it was not until three years later at 8 years of age that she submitted her life to God and his plan for her. As a teenager, God provided her with many Christian friends as she was active in her local youth group, her churches’ state organization, and Youth for Christ.
Irene attended Central Christian College and it was during this time that she became settled and developed a daily devotion time with God. Her life phrase: “God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him” became a personal goal.
It was also at Central that she met and married Lyle Parks, later making their first home in Hesston, Kansas. To this marriage two daughters were born, Sandra Lee and Sara Jayne.
At the request of Lyle’s employment, Hesston Corporation, the family moved to Claremore, Oklahoma, where Irene was active in her local church. The couple later started a church in their home and founded Parham Industries, Inc., an agriculture products and steel fabrication company. Irene was involved from supporter, to office positions, to truck driver, etc. Then at 47 years of age, Irene found herself as a widow, managing that manufacturing company and leaning hard on God. It was during this time that all kinds of miracles happened and God became even more real to her.
During those seven years He sent solutions to problems, friends and family to support, employees left scriptures on her desk, and daily reminders of His provision. It was a difficult, but precious time in her life.
Following the sale of that company, Irene became a chaplain for Marketplace Ministries and related in Kansas City, Kansas. During her 12 years of singles God sent a promise – Hab. 1:5 “Look….watch and be amazed, I will do something in your lifetime that will amaze you. You won’t believe it even when you are told about it.”, and surely he did just that! Bob Stahly re-entered her life and they were married in 2006 and Irene again made her home in Hesston, Kansas. Hospitality then became the focus: from family reunions to Bible study meetings in their home, to overnight guests as well as long term live-ins. It was at this time in Irene’s life that the Oswald Chambers quote became her goal: “It is the work that God does through us that counts, not what we do FOR him”. To Irene that meant: having a right relationship with God, Him bringing the opportunities, and then Him using her gifts to glorify Him. What an easy life to live!
Irene was preceded in death by her father, Alvin Harris, her mother, Dorothy Davies Harris, and her first husband, Lyle Parks. She is survived by her husband Bob Stahly of the home, daughter Sandra Wood (Ken) of Overland Park, KS; and daughter Sara Spencer (Rich) of Pratt, KS; step-daughter Jacque Ross (Dennis) of Edmond, OK; and step-son BJ Stahly (Kim) of Newton, KS; grandchildren Lauren Wood, Chloe Wood, and Walker Wood of Overland Park, KS; Zach Spencer of Sydney NE, and Mikenna Spencer of Lincoln, NE; and step-grandchildren Aubrey Ross and Brendan Ross of Edmond, OK, Alec Stahly (Emily) of Kansas City, MO, and Taylor Stahly of Houston, TX. Also survived by sister Carolyn Mann, sister Anne Reinhardt, and brother Frank Harris, as well as many nieces and nephews.
A visitation will be from 6:00pm – 8:00pm, on Tuesday, June 29th, at Petersen Funeral Home in Newton, Kansas. A funeral service will be Wednesday, June 30th, at 11:00am, at the Hesston Mennonite-Brethren Church, 610 W. Randall St., in Hesston, with graveside to follow at Eastlawn Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hesston Mennonite Brethren Church or Voice of the Martyrs, in care of Petersen Funeral Home.