Emily Whitmore Park was born in Manhattan, NY, in 1931, and was the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. George B. Whitmore.
Three years later, after Dr. Whitmore’s retirement from his dermatology practice, the family bought property on Greenway Drive in Coral Gables, FL.
There, Emily met Trish Killingsworth Langley. After her freshman year at Ponce De Leon High School the family moved to Lewisburg, WV, where she became close friends with Virginia Skaggs of Lewisburg. Virginia was wintering in Florida with her grandmother when they met. In Lewisburg, Emily was introduced to Marybelle Stevens, whose husband in later life married Emily and Jonathan Park. After Dr. Whitmore’s death in 1940, Doris Whitmore brought Emily to West Virginia where they stayed at Elmhurst Farm in Caldwell, which was run as a family-owned bed and breakfast for summer guests. They fell in love with Lewisburg and kept returning to the mountains each summer.
Five years later, Doris Whitmore became Mrs. John North Caldwell and Emily entered the Greenbrier Junior College and graduated with a fine arts degree in 1951. Later, she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from West Virginia University before attending advertising art school in New York City. Her career included a position in the art department of Bonwit Teller, a summer art job at Nieman Marcus in Dallas, and then was hired for advertising art director at Bergdorf Goodman in Manhattan.
Always fondly remembering her home in Lewisburg, she made frequent trips to West Virginia to see her mother, Doris Caldwell, who was known for her fabulous and amazing miniature figures, which appeared in her husband’s store windows, and are now on display at the North House Museum. She also sculpted a life-sized nativity scene which Emily gave to the Old Stone Church.
Emily had an original shop in the Art Colony at The Greenbrier hotel, and here she met and married her husband, Jonathan Park, originally of Columbus, OH. They traveled extensively in England, France, and Asia, collecting treasures from Tokyo, Bangkok, and Hong Kong. Their happy life together was enhanced by their country dog, a redbone hound, they named Dreama Sue. Jon, Emily, and Dreama lived in a rustic house in the woods of South Hills in Charleston, WV, and had a very special and loving marriage for 46 years. She did ads for local businesses and banks there, but her main concern was for her beloved Jon.
They called their house, a residence of 20 years, their “Honeymoon Cottage.” In 2014, after Jonathan was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, they decided to make a move to a senior living home where they could receive the care and help he needed. After investigating locations in West Virginia and Florida, they decided to make their home in Naples, FL. Jonathan passed away in 2017, and Emily, who made a valiant effort to go on without him, was never herself again. Her own condition began to decline more rapidly in 2019. She died at Avow Hospice in Naples, and finally was able to get her wish to join Jonathan.
She is survived by her niece, Kathe Park Koch of Hyattsville, MD; and her cousin, John North Caldwell of Kentucky.
Her friends were welcomed to attend a memorial visitation on Monday, October 7, 2019, at the Aston Gardens in Naples from 2-4 p.m. Funeral services were held at 3:30 p.m.
Additional services will be held on Saturday, October 19, 2019, at 11 a.m. at the Old Stone Presbyterian Church in Lewisburg. Burial services will be held at Rosewood Cemetery.
Memorial donations in her memory may be made to Avow Hospice, 1095 Whippoorwill Lane, Naples, FL 34105, for their compassionate care given to Emily in her final days or to a Hospice facility in your area.
To sign her guest register or to leave online condolences visit www.Shikany FuneralHome.com.
Arrangements are being handled by Shikany’s Bonita Funeral Home Bonita Springs, FL, 239-992-4982.
Obituary originally published in the October 18, 2019, edition of The West Virginia Daily News.