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Democrat Photo by Nathan Mayberg

RETIRING TOWN OF Forestburgh Clerk Evelyn Parks, center, is surrounded by her family at her farewell party Saturday at Mr. Willy’s in Monticello. From the left are her son in-law Michael Landis, her daughter Susan Landis, her son Thomas Parks and her daughter in-law Dana Parks. In the front are her granddaughters Meredith and Taylor Parks.

Goodbye, Evelyn,
And Job Well Done

By Nathan Mayberg
FORESTBURGH — January 24, 2006 – When Evelyn Parks first started as clerk for the Town of Forestburgh 32 years ago, there were no offices inside the town hall on Hartwood Road.
The clerk’s office was her home.
The town hall was used only for meetings.
Now there are several town offices in the hall off Route 42, although the township’s population remains one of the smallest in the county.
Regardless, being Forestburgh’s clerk and taking care of much of its daily business has always been a natural for Parks. After all, her grandfather, John T. Evans, was also the town’s clerk.
At a retirement lunch held at Mr. Willy’s in Monticello this past weekend, many of her fellow town residents and town clerks from both Sullivan and Orange County were on hand to wish her the best in the next chapter of her life.
John J. “Bill” Sipos, the former supervisor and councilman of Forestburgh, called her “the hard drive of the town.”
As clerk for three decades, Parks was praised by Sipos as a skillful organizer who could access just about any information that was needed.
Sipos first met Parks when he moved to the town 46 years ago. In the 18 years he was supervisor and councilman, Sipos said Parks was an “absolute delight to work with. She was hands on, worked well with people and was very knowledgeable. She had her fingers on the pulse of the town.”
Parks grew up in Forestburgh with some of those who were in attendance, including Town Justice Maryjean Carroll. As a young adult, she worked as a teller at the National Union Bank on Broadway in Monticello, which later turned into Key Bank.
But eventually her bloodline called upon her, and the Town Republican Committee asked her to run for the office of clerk.
She fondly recalled the former supervisors she worked with over the years. In addition to Sipos, there was Paul Rausch (her first), John Galligan (now a councilman), and Dan Lamberti. Parks said that she became very good friends with Lamberti, for whom she was a strong political supporter.
On her retirement, Parks said, “It’s a new part of my life. I’ve enjoyed my time as town clerk. I love the people. I will miss the people of Forestburgh.”
She said she will particularly miss the people she worked with and the friendships she developed over the years.
Parks described Forestburgh as a town where “you more or less know everybody as your neighbor.”
Joanna Nagoda, who is succeeding Parks, has also known Parks her whole life. She has been working with her for the last 12 years. Parks asked her to serve as her deputy, but Nagoda worked her way up to building inspector and now clerk.
“Evelyn is the best,” said Nagoda. “There isn’t anything she wouldn’t do for anybody. She can remember more things than most people. If it happened in Forestburgh, she knows of it or can find out something about it.”
Indeed, while not revealing the minutiae of details about how she was able to keep all of the town’s historical records organized, Parks said she formed a system to put all of the old files in order so they could easily be accessed.
Ken Klein, a Forestburgh resident and its former attorney, has known Parks his whole life.
“She is one of the finest people I’ve ever had the honor to represent. She was a terrific town clerk,” he said. “
Danielle Mack, who recently moved on from her position as town councilwoman, said, “I loved working with Evelyn because she was such a professional. Everything she did was top-notch. She really loves the Town of Forestburgh.”
Ed Mack, a Town of Forestburgh Democratic Committee member, quoted D.H. Lawrence:
“She is in our blood and lives.”

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