It is not the general policy of Scope to acknowledge the passing of our colleagues. But there is one person without whom this newsletter might not exist today. For 14 years, David W. Parke, MD devoted his time and talents to shepherding and growing the Scope newsletter, a publication we senior ophthalmologists continue to enjoy.
David W. Parke, MD
Although his work with Scope was a major contribution to our profession, it is only one of countless accomplishments in his remarkable life of nearly 98 years (he missed it by one week). His many accomplishments are outlined in the obituary prepared by his son, Academy CEO David W. Parke II, MD; his daughter Marna Borgstrom, CEO of Yale-New Haven Health and Yale-New Haven Hospital; and Lucian Del Priore, MD, chair of the Yale University Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science.
As with so many of his friends and colleagues, it is a personal loss for me. He was a cherished colleague, friend and inspiration ever since my wife and I came to Yale in 1996. He and his wife, Joyce (who preceded him in death by 12 years), were among the first to welcome us into their home upon our arrival. Our department needed a low vision clinic, and Dave (as he preferred to be called) not only helped us raise funds for it through the Lions Club, but also volunteered to set up and run the clinic, which he did faithfully for nearly 20 years.
I have saved most of the back issues of Scope and, when I learned of Dave’s passing, I got them out and looked through the ones when he was editor. It reminded me of how much he contributed to the newsletter and how he set a standard of excellence that has been a challenge for those of us who have followed him. He personally wrote many of the articles in each issue and insured a level of quality in all the articles he approved and edited, notably those from his two excellent associate editors, Drs. W. Banks Anderson Jr. and the late William S. Tasman.
2015 Senior Ophthalmologist (SO) Committee Retreat.
I especially enjoyed reading his thoughtful editorials. One that has stayed with me over the years was the editorial he wrote in the Summer 2013 issue titled “Roles.” In it, he recalls the ups and downs of raising three children with their “emerging desire for independence” and the often-heard refrain. “I do it myself,” as he put it. Of course, all three went on to be remarkably successful, and then there were grandchildren and great-grandchildren with more success.
His editorial fast-forwards to a day when we were honored to have his son David come to Yale as a visiting professor and speak at our grand rounds. Of course, Dave was in the audience with Marna by his side. Over the years, the roles had reversed, and the children now cared for their father, somewhat to his irritation. So, as David helped his father to a waiting car, Dave was tempted to say, “I do it myself.” But I’ll let him tell the rest from the final words of his editorial.
“My first impulse was to pull away, but then a warm feeling came over me as I remembered the little boy whose hand I had held when we crossed the street many years ago. He opened the door for me, and as I sat down, he reached in and gave me a gentle kiss on the cheek as he said goodbye. What a role reversal! A tear ran down my cheek.”
David W. Parke, II, MD, Academy CEO and David W. Parke, MD pictured at a family fly fishing trip.
And I feel a tear welling in my eye, as I consider how blessed I have been – how blessed all who knew him have been – to have had our lives touched by a gentleman of such good humor, compassion, humility and integrity.
To those who might be interested, you may also make a donation to an Academy program in Dr. Parke’s memory.