Irma Jean Zollicker, age 90, passed away Sunday, May 15, 2022. She was born to Clark William and Elsie Mable (Kimzey) Parks, September 4, 1931, the youngest of four girls.
Raised in the Tightwad and Coal area, Irma Jean learned the meaning of hard work growing up on a farm. Later, she moved to Clinton, living with her oldest sister, Zona, to attend high school. Irma worked at J. C. Penney during high school and later at Union State Bank after graduating. It was in her early twenties that her sister Mary and her husband, Kenny McLain introduced her to Thomas Marion “Slugger” Zollicker. They were married October 5, 1952. Together, they raised 3 daughters all red-headed, Martha Ann, Marilyn Aileen and Margaret Allison. During their early years together and after their daughters were born, Irma and Slugger spent many nights at the old Artesian Park ballpark and later Optimist Park, where she cheered him on as he pitched and managed softball. One game we fondly remember is when Slugger was pitching, a foul ball was hit over the backstop and hit Irma, giving her a black eye as she shielded Marilyn, who was sitting on her lap, from the ball. This was family entertainment at its finest and we loved every minute of it. Irma enjoyed being at home, raising her daughters, canning food from the garden, cooking and sewing. She loved making matching dresses for herself and her daughters. She was an active member of First Baptist Church, teaching Sunday School and Vacation Bible School as well as being a member of The Lorna Kemper Club for many years. Since the girls were members of Campfire, Irma helped in every way she could from leading the groups to helping them earn their beads and badges. In 1964, she and Slugger began their own business with the purchase of Fitzgerald Propane Company. They later added property purchased from Mel Ball where the Northwest Trailer Park is located and Stull Gas and Propane in Warsaw. Irma was the bookkeeper and later the sole proprietor after Slugger passed away, working for over 40 years in the oil, gas and propane industry. She received the distinguished honor of being recognized as Henry County Businesswoman of the year. Irma enjoyed visiting with each and every customer that came through the doors. She knew a lot of people and they knew her. Irma retired shortly after her 80th birthday to enjoy her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She loved spending time reading and could get lost for hours in a good book, especially a mystery. Irma dreamed of traveling and she and Slugger won many trips through Phillips 66. These opportunities took them to Hawaii and abroad enjoying the world afar. Irma wanted to experience the opportunity to host a foreign exchange student with our family. Bianca Croe’ of Eupen, Belgium joined our family in 1981 for a year abroad in Missouri. Irma took great pleasure in sharing our community, state and country with Bianca and made sure she experienced it all. She took great pleasure in making Bianca’s dress for prom and but especially wanted Bianca to have as many opportunities as possible for a lifetime of memories. Irma and Slugger visited Bianca and her family in later years and Bianca has made many a trip to Missouri to visit family. After Slugger passed Irma was able to travel as she had hoped and was able to make a trip to Ireland with her sister Mary and niece Linda. Irma Jean is survived by her three daughters, Marty McKee of Wichita, Marilyn (Tom) Gunter, Meg (Alan) Edwards both of Clinton and Bianca Croe’ of Eupen, Belgium. Also, her 8 grandchildren, Elizabeth (Josh) Bezdek, Alex McKee, and Andrew McKee; Jillian (Justin) Wells, Garrett (Megan) Gunter and Elyse Gunter; Kate Edwards and Scott Edwards and 6 great-grandchildren. Irma’s wishes were to be buried at Parks Chapel Cemetery next to her husband. The family will hold a private graveside service. Her book is available to sign through 5:00 p.m. Friday at the Bradley & Hadley Funeral Home, Clinton. The family suggests memorial donations to Good Shepherd Hospice, Henry County Museum or Parks Chapel Cemetery. These donations may be left in care of the funeral home.