Brooks Park dies at age 87
GARDNERVILLE – Brooks Park, descendant of a pioneering Nevada family that prospered from gaming at Lake Tahoe and ranching in Carson Valley, died Thursday. He was 87.
Park had been hospitalized after suffering a heart attack at Christmas.
“He was active up until two days before he was hospitalized. He was out looking at his cattle,” said son Bruce Park.
Brooks Park was the grandson of David Brooks and Unity Park, who settled in Carson Valley in the early 1870s. From their first days in Nevada, the Park family purchased property at Tahoe and throughout Carson Valley and Topaz.
“My father saw the change and the potential for change,” said Bruce Park. “His vision not only for ranching, but also for Lake Tahoe, has been a gift to all of us. He was the original environmentalist.”
Bruce Park said his father stressed humility and perseverance.
“His perseverance was one of his most endearing qualities, that plus his integrity and sense of humor,” he said. “He even had a twinkle in his eye the night before he died.”
Brooks Park was born in 1911. He attended Douglas County High School, St. Ignatius High School in San Francisco and graduated from the University of Nevada.
He began the Park Livestock Co. in 1935 with the purchase of ranch property near Topaz Lake. In the early 1960s, he leased summer pasture land at Tahoe to casino operators looking for property. Today, Harvey’s Resort & Casino, Caesars Tahoe and Horizon Casino Resort all lease their property from the Park family. The Park Cattle Co. also built Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in 1965.
The Park family is listed as Douglas County’s largest property owner with an assessed valuation of $63.5 million.
Brooks Park married Jeanne Cardinal, a descendant of the prominent Dangberg family, in 1937. They were married for 63 years. They raised their family and continued to live in a house across the highway from where Brooks Park grew up.
“My dad had a sense of family and a sense of pride in being a rancher,” Bruce Park said. “He had a love for Carson Valley and an extra special love for Antelope Valley.”
Park is survived by his wife, Jeanne; son, Bruce; and two daughters, Jeanne Blach of Elko and Kay Seeliger of Reno; 14 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held Monday at 10 a.m. at St. Gall Catholic Church in Gardnerville. A rosary will be recited Sunday night at 7 p.m. at the church. Burial will follow the funeral in the Park family plot at the historic Mottsville Cemetery.
Following the services, family and friends are invited to Bruce Park’s home, 1030 Frieda Lane, in Minden.
“From my perspective and my family’s, we’re mourning, but we’re also having a celebration. I consider myself very lucky to have had my dad for 59 years, and my mom had a husband for 63 years. He had his health up to the very end,” said Bruce Park.
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