Celebrating the Life of Katie Parsons May 9, 1933 - May 17, 2010
Katie Parsons Memorial Service Welcome Slideshow
Tim Yee, Pastor St. Andrews Presbyterian We Will Remember Shadow Mountain Church Choir
Psalm 27: 1, 4-5 Isaiah 40:28-31
Emily Parsons, Leanne Parsons Granddaughters
Bob Vernon, Childhood Friend
Bob & Edy Gordon, MAF Friends
Larry & Janean Bubeck, MAF Friends
Jeremiah 17: 7-8 Isaiah 58:11
Erin Parsons, Kayla Colunga Granddaughters
Joanna Moore, Lord Heal My Hurts
Gene & Kenette Molway, Family Friends
2 Timothy 4: 7-8 Video Slideshow Message
Wesley Parsons, Grandson Highlights from Roy I Will Rise - Chris Tomlin Mark Thomas Family Friend
Bruce Parsons, Son
Royson Parsons, Son
Prayer Great is Thy Faithfulness
Araceli Applegate, Lord Heal My Hurts
Benediction Recessional Reception 1
We Will Remember - Shadow Mountain Church Choir We will remember, we will remember, We will remember the works of Your hands, We will stop and give you praise For great is Thy faithfulness You're our creator, our life sustainer, Deliverer, our comfort, our joy Throughout the ages You've been our shelter Our peace in the midst of the storm With signs and wonders You've shown Your power, With precious blood You showed us Your grace, You've been our helper, our liberator, The giver of life with no end When we walk through life's darkest valleys, We will look back at all You have done, And we will shout, our God is good And He is the faithful One Hallelujah, hallelujah, To the one from whom all blessings flow Hallelujah, hallelujah, To the one whose glory has been shown I still remember the day You saved me, The day I heard You call out my name You said You loved me and would never leave me And I've never been the same
I Will Rise - Chris Tomlin There's a peace I've come to know, Though my heart and flesh may fail There's an anchor for my soul, I can say, "It is well" Jesus has overcome, And the grave is overwhelmed The victory is won, He is risen from the dead And I will rise when He calls my name, No more sorrow, no more pain I will rise on eagles' wings, Before my God fall on my knees And rise, I will rise There's a day that's drawing near, When this darkness breaks to light And the shadows disappear And my faith shall be my eyes And I hear the voice of many angels sing, "Worthy is the Lamb" And I hear the cry of every longing heart, "Worthy is the Lamb" 2
Katie loved to tell stories, and her life provided many exceptional experiences that made for wonderful ones. We think she would have been pleased by our retelling some of our favorites from her amazing life. She was born Kathrine Wiebe, under the most humble of circumstances. Katie's father, Earnest Wiebe, had graduated from Chiropractic college in Los Angeles, but was unable to enter the profession because he still owed the college a $300 tuition payment. Like many other families during the depression, the Wiebes hit the road looking for work. Ernie, Leah and Katie's older sister Beverly lived in their car and a tent as they traveled north, looking for work. Ernie picked crops, dug ditches, built fences, and tended livestock as they moved from temporary job to job. Leah was pregnant with Katie when they reached Arago, Oregon in the spring of 1933. A sympathetic farmer's wife traded the Wiebes the use of a small house in exchange for Ernie milking their cows each day. Katie was born in that house on May 9, 1933. As a child Kathrine was told her middle name was "Helen" but later found her parents had neglected to fill in a middle name on her birth certificate. She later used "W" for Wiebe as a middle initial, when circumstances required. Katie's earliest memory was being carried into a preschool by her daddy. Katie had broken her leg when the family car capsized, and she was fitted with a full length leg cast. Katie vividly recalled two large stone lions at the entrance to the school, and being embarrassed by the attention being carried into class raised. After being nearly killed in a logging accident, Ernie Wiebe moved his family back to Los Angeles, where he was able to pay off the chiropractic college. Ernie then passed his state board exams, and built a thriving Chiropractic practice in Highland Park. Katie had many happy childhood memories, she was a tomboy, and recalled adventures with her best pal Bob Vernon, climbing trees and exploring drainage tunnels. Katie loved to tell the story of playing a timing game with Bob where each would pop their heads up past a hole in a wall, while the other tossed rocks through the hole. Katie lost that game and went home for stitches from her incredulous daddy. Bob and Katie remained friends throughout Katie's life, and she participated in his wedding. Another of Katie's favorite stories was a prank that she and Roy pulled on the Vernons, hiding their car keys during the wedding reception, thus delaying their honeymoon departure. Katie and her parents in Highland Park
Katie loved to swim, and did so every time she could. The Wiebes often vacationed at Lake Arrowhead, and Katie loved swimming there. Swimming would become an enduring theme of Katie's life. She swam the rivers, lakes and oceans everywhere they traveled. Living the second half of her life so near the ocean in Newport Beach was a dream come true for Katie. A trip to the beach was never complete without a good swim, no matter how cold the water. Katie met Roy at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. He was entranced by Katie, but reluctant to give up his status as a popular single upperclassman. Roy had learned to fly airplanes at the Westmont Flying Club, and felt called to work as a missionary pilot after being challenged to do so by Nate Saint, who served with MAF in Ecuador. During a college trip to the Holy Land, Roy missed Katie terribly, and realized that she was "THE ONE." He purchased an engagement ring in Switzerland and returned home ahead of schedule to ask for her hand. They were reunited near Roy's hometown on the 4th of July where Katie arrived exhausted and bleary eyed after an all night bus ride from southern California.
Well rested and anxious, Roy proposed immediately, and didn't quite understand why her "yes" sounded more tired than ecstatic. They were married on December 28, 1952 in Katie's home church in Highland Park. After a marvelous Indio honeymoon, (with lots of swimming!) Roy and Katie settled into their first home, where they began training for missionary work. In order to become a self sufficient missionary pilot, Roy needed to become an aircraft mechanic, and Katie trained as a nurse. God tested their resolve during this time, as it would be nearly five years before they were accepted into MAF. During the interim Katie suffered the heartbreak of several miscarriages and nearly died because of a tubal pregnancy. Tough times strengthened rather than weakened their marriage. They found comfort in leading a high school youth group and in the antics of their mischievous cocker spaniel, Benjamin. In 1955 MAF pilot, Nate Saint, and four fellow missionaries were lead by God to bring Christianity to the Waodani tribe in Ecuador. The Waodani, called "Aucas" by Westerners, were feared for a violence amongst themselves and against outsiders. After 3 months of positive indirect interaction with the Aucas, Nate and his fellow missionaries were killed by Aucas on January 8, 1956. In 1957 Roy and Katie learned they had been chosen by MAF to succeed Nate in Shell Mera, Ecuador. It was a humbling honor to fill the role of the man who had inspired Roy to become a missionary. During their final preparation for the mission field, Katie learned she was pregnant and their departure for Ecuador was delayed because of Katie's previous pregnancy difficulties. During their MAF orientation, Roy and Katie became close friends with their neighbors, Hank and Joanne Worthington who were also expecting. Katie and Joanne delivered healthy baby boys just days apart in the summer of 1958. The Parsons and the Worthingtons remained life long friends. In the decades to follow both couples would serve in key leadership roles for MAF. Roy and Katie served in Shell Mera for two years. MAF next entrusted the Parsons to establish a new flight program at Lethem, British Guyana. Roy, Katie and little Roy III (later called Royson) lived in an abandoned store building. Life in Lethem was arid and difficult, but the Parsons managed to build a hanger, and plant a sustaining vegetable garden, even though water had to be hauled in one barrel full at a time. Most importantly, Roy's flying and Katie's administrative and radio work made the MAF program in Guyana a great success. Katie's favorite story from this time was that each evening without fail, Royson prayed for a baby brother. Doctors had told Katie she was lucky to have had one child, and a second successful pregnancy was unlikely. Their little boy had so much faith in his prayers, how could they not also trust in God's grace? According to Katie, when baby Bruce came home from the hospital, Royson, then five, had a chat with the tiny newcomer, to the effect, "I prayed hard for you, every night. You're going to have to pray for the next one!" Roy and Katie were next assigned to neighboring Suriname, a former Dutch colony, where they established a new flight program and served for 4 years. As in Ecuador and Guyana, Katie built many life long friendships with families in Suriname, both Nationals and Westerners.
The Parsons were amazed when they visited Suriname 40 years later, and found that they were remembered and held in high regard by villagers there. The MAF program in Suriname exceeded all expectations. A highlight of this period was the donation of a new airplane by the Dutch government. The Queen of Holland came to christen the new plane in person, a surreal experience for Katie, who never in her wildest imagination expected to be in the company of Royals. Being the mother of two rambunctious boys and teaching Sunday school helped her keep things in perspective. 1n 1967, MAF recognized Roy's ability to establish new flying programs and rescue struggling ones by giving him the awesome responsibility of overseeing all operations for the continent of Africa. This meant that in effect Katie became a sort of "First Lady" for MAF families in Africa. This was an unexpected turn of events, and Katie did not relish her every action as a wife and mother being scrutinized as a role model. But God had a plan for this too, and provided Roy and Katie with a chance to recharge their batteries prior to taking on Africa. They needed to learn French, and went to Switzerland for three months of language training, while the boys remained in school in California with Katie's Parents. Three months in Switzerland alone as a couple after 15 years of marriage and 8 years on the mission field gave Roy and Katie a wonderful time to strengthen their bond for the difficult job ahead. As it turned out, the Parsons were well suited to life as MAF's "First Family" in Africa. Katie enjoyed the opportunity to make friends and help newcomers acclimate to the difficult life of being a mother and missionary pilot's wife. Roy's role meant he was often gone for weeks at a time. Katie found that keeping busy was the best hedge against loneliness. Like before, Katie did the MAF bookkeeping and administrative work. More surprising (but not to anyone who knew her) Katie quickly became a leader in the greater missionary community, serving as Sunday school and vacation Bible school superintendent, and on the school board. All these commitments kept the Parsons very busy. Before they knew it, they had served a six year tour of duty and accomplished what they set out to do. Realizing that family time had taken a back seat to their missionary work, Roy and Katie made the difficult decision in 1974 to retire from the mission field. As it turned out, it was to be a sort of loose retirement, over the next two decades they would return frequently on working trips to Africa and India. The Parsons moved back to Southern California to be near family, and settled in Orange County. Roy continued serving on the board of MAF, and pursued an avocation in real estate investing. Roy and Katie became active in local Christian ministries, and were bountifully blessed by financial success in real estate. In the 1980's Roy hatched a plan to reduce the laborious workload of mission station bookkeeping, by employing recently introduced personal computers. Roy and Katie began computerizing mission stations in Africa, and they made an excellent team. Roy set up the hardware and figured out how to power it in remote locations. Katie taught missionary wives and nationals how to turn hours of tedious hand bookkeeping into a few minutes of computer entry a day. Africa became the first MAF continent to have the accounting chores computerized. When they weren't on overseas mission trips, Katie taught a thriving Bible study in Harbor View Homes which she led for 14 years. Katie was later called to teach a "Lord Heal My Hurts" class for women which turned into a 17 year commitment. Katie's hurts class became a turning point in the personal lives of literally hundreds of women in her community. Katie loved gardening, and saw many parallels between the planting flowers and the tending of relationships. Like swimming, the blossoming of Katie's many gardens became an enduring theme in her life.
The Parsons success in real estate allowed them to both enjoy a comfortable life in Newport Beach and actively support mission work worldwide. They traveled extensively all over the world, often combining vacation trips with visits to former missionary comrades. During the last 17 years, Roy and Katie focused their support on Evangelism Resources, a charity that establishes Christian schools and education programs worldwide. Katie made two mission trips to India, during which she found a special place in her heart for the Dalit children, the poorest of poor of the "untouchable" caste. Katie's support was instrumental in the construction of an elementary school for over 200 Dalit children who otherwise would be denied an education. In 2006 Katie's doctor diagnosed her with early signs of Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) a rare leukemia like bone marrow disease. There is no known cure for MDS. Katie had no symptoms of MDS for two years after she was first diagnosed, but then collapsed on a vacation trip in 2008. MDS made Katie physically weak, a cruel fate for one who had a never ending supply of physical energy throughout her life. MDS also weakens the immune system, Katie was first hospitalized in the spring of 2009 with an acute infection. Katie ended up spending nine weeks in the hospital, doctors would get one infectious problem under control, only to find that she had contracted other infections that are common in hospitals. Week after week, Katie's condition seemed to worsen. Most who visited Katie in the hospital concluded that she would not recover. Even the hospital staff seemed to give up hope. Roy and Katie put their trust in God, and prayed for a reversal in her decline. To nearly everyone's astonishment, Katie recovered and after weeks in intensive care, she was able to resume life at home on her birthday. Katie's praised God that her energy was restored. She was able to travel, drive, attend family reunions, and go on a cruise with her children and grandchildren. In the year following her release from the hospital Katie gradually began to weaken, until eventually even blood transfusions failed to restore her energy as they had previously. Katie and Roy began to accept that her condition would be terminal within a matter of months at the most. Rather than despair at the diagnosis, Katie used the final months of her life to reflect on the wonderful life she had lived, contacting her dearly loved friends and family to bid farewell. Katie was determined to die at home, she had had quite enough of the hospital for one lifetime. In her last three weeks of life, Katie traveled to visit relatives, took in her granddaughter Erin's performance in a theatrical play and the Westmont graduation of her first born grandchild, Emily. Katie's last full good day was her 77th birthday May 9, also Mother's Day. Katie felt well enough to go out to eat, and shared the day with her sons, daughters in law and grandchildren. Ever optimistic to the end, Katie discussed her agenda for a family reunion at Christmas time. Katie did not suffer pain in the days to follow, but she grew weaker by the hour. Roy set up her hospital bed in the family room so Katie could see her treasured garden. As Katie faded away, Hospice assisted Roy with her care, making sure she was attended to continuously. Roy held her in his arms as she took her last earthly breaths on the afternoon of May 17, 2010 Katie is survived by Roy, her husband of 57 years, two sons and daughters in law, seven grandchildren, and numerous unofficially adopted family members whom she took under her wing and treated as her own. In Katie's memory please consider supporting The Christian Missions Charitable Trust, c/o Luis Palau Association, P.O. Box 50, Portland, OR 97207. www.christianmissionsindia.com. Quotes from Katie On life: “I would not trade my life for any woman, famous, beautiful, rich or talented” from her diary, November 2009 On Gardening: “The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs…You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” Isaiah 58:11 paraphrased On Traveling: “Never leave for a trip without packing your toothbrush and a swim suit.”
My Katie We first met at Westmont College in 1951 when my roommate and I were looking to crash the dinner line. My roommate asked her if we had met. Her response was "No. But the best thing I know about him is his car." She always said I was challenged to prove to her that I was more than my car. When we dated she said that she was impressed that I did not talk about my car like other guys she knew. Also, she said that during that first date to the Ventura County Fair she thought to herself "It would be fun to be married to this guy." By Valentines Day, 1952 I knew that she was God's choice for me. December 28th, 1952 was our wedding day. Our lifetime of fun together was in full swing! Both of us had decided that we were willing to be missionaries if God led us in that direction. In March of 1953 Nate Saint challenged us to offer my flying skills to the Lord. I graduated from Fuller Seminary and Katie received her Licensed Vocational Nursing license in 1955. When we were accepted by Mission Aviation Fellowship we were ecstatic! We looked back on our 20 years of missionary life in South America and Africa as a wonderful experience. It was with a great satisfaction as we recalled our opportunity to be a part of touching many lives spiritually and physically. We made many lifetime friends and yes, we also had fun along the way! Moving to Newport Beach in 1974 gave Katie the opportunity to share her life with hundreds of ladies through her teaching Bible Studies, counseling, and so forth. Countless people have told us how she was the key person in their coming to faith in Christ, healing of their relationships. For many years late night phone calls were not unusual as gals sought her help. For 33 years Katie was actively leading a bible study group. We both have said that we would not have traded our lives for anyone else in the world. We loved being together! We knew that God had brought us together as a couple. Our sons, their wives and our grandchildren have been a joy to us. Katie was very good at arranging special family gatherings and trips together. We were able to share our love of fun with them. God blessed me beyond my imagination when He brought Katie into my life. We loved each other unconditionally. Her legacy will live forever through the many lives she touched.
To God be the glory!
Great is Thy Faithfulness Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father There is no shadow of turning with Thee Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be. [Chorus:] Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed Thy hand hath provided Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me! Summer and winter and springtime and harvest, Sun, moon and stars in their courses above Join with all nature in manifold witness To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love. Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide; Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
Katieâ€™s Life verse: Psalm 27: 1, 4&5 The LORD is my light and my salvation so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? The one thing I ask of the LORD-the thing I seek most is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD's perfections and meditating in his Temple. For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
To contact Katieâ€™s family, read about her legacy, and see additional photos and videos, visit http://web.me.com/roydad/Roy_&_Katies_Blog/