On Monday, May 19 Avis Jean Parman, longtime Albany resident and civic pioneer, died peacefully at the age of 96 years. During her lifetime, Avis experienced most of the history of the 20th century; nearly a hundred years of fascinating change and challenge. And she loved being part of it. Her greatest legacy is the example she set for her family and others in remaining faithful, positive in nature and constantly grateful for her many blessings of family, friends, and the communities she served and so appreciated.
On this sad occasion for us, she asked that we celebrate her life for which she gave frequent thanks that she could so long experience and enjoy. She was the quintessential American Optimist. There are never enough of them, and of those, she was among the best. She will be missed by many and never forgotten by all who knew her. So many of you were dear to her.
During her lifetime Avis was active in many organizations and loved to participate in projects to improve the world she encountered.
Avis was born in Worth County Missouri in 1923 to Lawrence and the former Martha Stevens of Denver, Missouri. She graduated from Worth County High School and attended Northwest Missouri State College for a brief period. She married Vance Parman on June 26, 1943, and moved to Albany. Avis taught school during her young adult life and relished the memory of "driving" to work on horseback. She assisted with Vance's oil business, followed by their many years in the Albany Chevrolet dealership, finishing her professional work life in the banking business in Gallatin and New Hampton, Missouri.
But with that she was only getting started. Her ties to Albany and the surrounding communities were deep-rooted and extensive. Avis was uncommonly generous and gave both her time and financial support to various community projects over the decades. Instead of "retiring" at 65, Avis became even more involved in local, state and national activities.
Avis was a Founding Member of the Albany Community Betterment program in 1963; an organization she loved and served for over 46 years. During that time, she was an influential and driving force behind many economic and community betterment projects, not only in Albany but other towns as well. Avis received the organization's Leadership Certificate in 1999 and the Adult Leadership Award in 2008. She was named Volunteer of the Year in 2011 for the Northwest Region and received the prestigious state Ambassador Award in 2013. In addition, she assisted in helping New Hampton initiate its participation in the Community Betterment Program.
Avis was appointed by various Governors to serve on state agencies. She served six years with the State of Missouri's Environmental Improvement and Energy Resources Authority-two as Chairman. She was chairwoman of the Missouri Agriculture and Small Business Development Authority from 1998-2000. She served on the Northwest Missouri Regional Solid Waste Management District for over 11 years.
In Albany, she served many years on the city Park Board, city Council and the Long-Range Planning Committee for the Albany R-III School District.
Avis contributed her time and donated resources to many other local projects over the years, including the Hundley-Whaley Learning Discovery Center, the Carnegie library and the restoration of the Albany R-III High School performing stage. She cared deeply about her community.
Avis was a founding member of the local Business and Professional Women's (BPW) chapter and dedicated many years to its growth and success. She served at the local, district and state level of BPW including serving as the Missouri State President. She spent six years at the national level with the National BPW/USA Foundation Board of Directors, serving as Vice President for two years. One of her most memorable moments with the organization was ringing the Closing Bell at the New York Stock Exchange in 2003.
Avis served on the Athens Township Democratic Committee, and was President of the Sixth District Women's Club. In 1996 she was elected an at-large delegate to the National Democratic Convention. On the occasion of her 90th birthday in 2013, her lifetime of service was commended in the Federal Congressional Record by Representative Sam Graves.
Beta Sigma Phi
Avis was a proud member of Beta Sigma Phi in Albany. She was honored by her fellow sorority members with a very special 60-year service award pin in 2018.
Through the Bank of Gallatin and the First State Bank of New Hampton, she and her husband Vance were active for many years in the business communities of the local and regional area. She became President of The Bank of Gallatin and The First State Bank of New Hampton following Vance's death. Avis was a Board Member of the Missouri Independent Bankers Association, serving over 30 years in different capacities and on many committees. She was appointed Director Emeritus of the Missouri Independent Bankers Association in 1998.
She was a respected business associate of some, a friend to many and a beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother to her family.
Avis is survived by her sister Joan Ruppe, three children-Larry and his wife Darlene, Jean Ann and Stan and his wife Betsy. She leaves four grandchildren, Scott Parman, Aly Pitts, Lyndsey Goodman, Matthew Parman and three step-grandchildren Michael Durrant, Kirby Gaughan and Claire Durrant, plus many loving great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
"Thank you" to Pineview Manor and to Linda Whitaker, her longtime caregiver.
Graveside Service and Burial: 3 p.m. Tuesday, May 26 at the Grandview Cemetery, Albany, Missouri. Open visitation will be 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Roberson-Polley Chapel, Albany.
In lieu of flowers, tax-deductible memorial donations may be made to the Parman Family Foundation where you may designate your preference for funding the Vance and Avis Parman Scholarship for seniors at the Albany R-III High School, the Carnegie Public Library, the Albany Community Foundation or the local/regional BPW. Donations should be mailed to: Stan Parman, 10 Hollow Brook Road, Califon, NJ 07830.
Condolences may be expressed to the family at: www.robersonpolleychapel.com
.......And on this sad sunset,
Love will shine its farewell smile.
-Alexander Pushkin As published in the St. Joseph News-Press.