February 27, 2020

Betty (Byce) Parker

Died July 8, 2019


Betty (Byce) Parker, 96, an avid naturalist, legendary baker and pioneering free spirit who resurrected her grandparents’ century-old farmhouse and made it her own, died Monday, July 8, 2019, in Hale.

Born Sept. 28, 1922, in Flint, Ms. Parker grew up in the Huron National Forest area of Northern Michigan, where both sets of her grandparents were rooted. She spent her middle years in the Detroit area where she raised a family and worked in retail and real estate. In the late 1970s she moved back north to the rural homestead of 80 acres (which became known as “The Farm”) in South Branch, into the house that was built in 1902 by her grandparents, George and Lillian Byce.

A pragmatic conservationist at heart, Ms. Parker revived the farmhouse, developed a robust garden and grew, gathered, traded and hunted most of her food there for the rest of her life. She came to a deeper understanding of the local birds, wildlife and plant life, and was happy to teach and share her knowledge with those who came to visit her. Loved and cherished by her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and the residents of South Branch, Ms. Parker would often sit on the porch of her house, where she enjoyed company and conversation, but also the easy solitude of her yard and landscape. For those who had the privilege to know her, she was never short on stories or lessons. As one of her granddaughters recalled, “Gram showed me how to plant one tiny seed at a time, several inches from all the others, one by one, in a neat row. Because, she said, every seed is precious and carries life and sustenance and needs room to flourish and fill its potential.”

Betty (Byce) Parker is survived by her brother, Ormel “Jim” Byce of Flint; her sister, Madeline (Byce) Miller of Jackson; and her four children, Sandra (Parker) Karolak of Beverly Hills, Mich., Karen (Parker) Huedepohl of Whitefish Bay, Wis., Alexis Parker of Denver, Colo., and Alexander Parker of Marco Island, Fla. She is also survived by 11 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

The family would like to acknowledge the staff of Hale Creek Manor and Becky Arnold for their loving care.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Goodar Township Volunteer Fire Department, 4471 E. County Line Rd., South Branch, MI 48761.

Ms. Parker’s funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 13, at the Buresh Funeral Home in Hale. The visitation will take place from 4-7 p.m. Friday, July 12. She will be buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in South Branch.


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