Sympathy Saturday – Helen Roleke Parks

Born –  10 Aug 1890

Died – 10 Sep 1915

It seemed only fitting I pick my great-grandmother Helen Roleke Parks for Sympathy Saturday this week.  She died 96 years ago today, just a week after giving birth to my grandfather, William (Bill) John Parks.  As you will read in the following article, she died from complications of a cesarean section.  Her death certificate in fact states that she died from paralysis of the bowels following cesarean section.

I don’t know who to have more sympathy for, my great-grandmother for her sacrifice, my great-grandfather for losing his wife and faced with raising a son alone, my grandfather for having never known his mother, or for Helen’s father William Roleke, and the trials he suffered at the time.  His wife and Helen’s mother, Anna Schulze Roleke passed away in March of the same year that Helen died.  His mother died just a few weeks after his wife.  Imagine losing your wife, mother and daughter, all in a six month period.  He must have been a very strong man to have survived all the sorrow he must have felt.

I dream of finding more obituaries like this.  This is the first obituary that I found when I started researching my family tree, and it’s the only one I have ever seen written quite like this.  The detail is unbelievable, and gave such an insight into their lives.  I have two whole newspapers that this obituary was in, and one of them is stamped with my great-grandfather’s name, JT Parks.  All of which were in the stack my grandmother was going to throw away, luckily I was there and she let me keep them.  Otherwise, I would have never known what this family went through, when my grandfather came into the world.

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