SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– If every season of life would be considered a chapter, 100-year-old Parke Piper has lived quite the story. College of the Ozarks is working on making Parke’s story into a memoir as a tool to teach future students.
“I had a good life,” Parke Piper said with a smile. “You sort of go along with the flow, I guess.”
Piper’s life story caught the attention of College of the Ozarks vice president of Patriotic Activities, Marci Linson.
“Parke Piper is a national treasure,” said Linson.
Shortly after Pearl Harbor, Piper signed up for the marines. Joining a brother in the navy and a half brother in the army.
“We represented the three corps,” Piper said proudly.
Piper traveled the world, fighting in some of the biggest battles of World War II. He kept a journal through all of his adventures.
The journal was a treasured surprise to Marci Linson.
“When I heard that Parke had a journal during his military service, especially during in and around Pearl Harbor and World War II, I was like ‘Oh my goodness!’ What a unique thing to be able to see.”
Many years later, Piper found himself in the middle of history yet again, but it was a battle he didn’t plan on: Covid.
On the night of Parke’s 100th birthday on February 1st, he was admitted into the hospital for complications related to catching the virus.
Ever the optimist, Parke found a positive.
“I met a lot of people, a lot of wonderful people there in the hospital.”
After a month spent at the Cox Medical Center in Branson, Parke is now back home where he lives on his own with a little help from his family.
“He managed to survive World War II and Covid,” said Marci Linson. “I mean, come on!”
College of the Ozarks is in the final stages of compiling Parke’s memoir, and they hope to have it done by the end of the 2022 spring semester in May.