An informal memorial for "Capt. Dean" Parks was held Friday, Jan. 11 at Marino's Marina in Palm Harbor. Parks recently passed away unexpectedly. Details about his passing have not been released.
Parks was a Crystal Beach resident who owned Absolute Angling Adventures Fishing Guides, a charter fishing business which operated out of Marino's Marina. He also taught fishing camps for children.
Marino's Marina owner Tony Marino had known Parks for at least 10 years and described him as a giving and caring person.
"Dean would do anything for anyone. He will be missed greatly," said Marino. "I saw him at his best."
Erica Lynford, who is the director of CSA Palm Harbor/The Centre, says she had known Parks for as long as she's worked at CSA, which is about a decade.
Parks taught fishing camps for kids there. Lynford told Patch that Parks was adored by the children and staff.
"He had just an amazing love for people. Dean demonstrated his love for the community and people in it. I know he touched thousands of people's lives over the past decade," said Lynford.
Lynford posted the following heartfelt message on the CSA Palm Harbor Facebook Page on Thursday after learning of Park's death.
"The CSA Palm Harbor family is in mourning today after learning of the sudden passing of Dean Parks, our beloved fishing camp instructor. Dean worked tirelessly to help teach our community's kids how to fish, and helped to create lasting memories for families on our Family Fishing Days. Dean was instrumental in bringing fishing to our department and always enjoyed working with the kids and making sure that every child always went home with a fishing pole if they couldn't afford one and some fish. A great man gone too soon. Our prayers are with his family and children. We love you, Dean. We hope you'll be catching some big ones from the clouds."
Parks wrote about his love for fishing on the Absolute Angling Adventures Fishing Guides website:
"I grew up here fishing with my father, Lester Ray Parks, who came to Florida in 1950. He was born on Tangier island in the Chesapeake Bay where my family has over 400 years of history.
There are hundreds of years of waterman running through my blood and I truly love to be on the water, it's where I feel most at home."
Parks' friends say he leaves behind a young son and daughter, Fisher and Marlee and his partner of many years, Amanda.
- Absolute Angling Adventures Fishing Guides
- Marino's Marina is located at 297 Shore Dr. in Palm Harbor, (727) 784-0143
- The Centre is located at 1500 16th St. in Palm Harbor, (727) 771-6000