Housewares Veteran Bill Parks, 75

CARY, N.C.–Bill Parks, former president of Hamilton Beach and a housewares industry veteran, died of throat cancer on April 13. He was 75.

Bill Parks

Bill Parks

Parks spent most of his career in the housewares industry. He worked for Scovill/Hamilton Beach from 1967 through 1976 in various positions, including distribution manager and general sales manager. He was the marketing manager for Seth Thomas Clock Co. from 1976 until 1979. In 1980 he joined Robeson Industries, where he was senior vice president until 1985. That same year he rejoined Hamilton Beach, first as vice president of sales and marketing and then, from 1988-1991, as president. He then worked as a consultant to various manufacturers until he retired in 1997.

“He was an excellent product person and a quick decision maker. He helped to launch Moulinex [the French small appliances maker] in this country and he brought great stability to Hamilton Beach,” said Milton Sussberg, a housewares industry consultant and a sales representative who worked for Parks at Hamilton Beach in the mid-1980s. “He gave me my break in the repping business. It was terrific. I will really miss him. I owe a lot to him.”

“Bill was an outstanding leader and administrator.  He always said that not everyone is a racehorse:  you’ve got to make the ‘C’ players a ‘B’ player and the ‘B’ players an ‘A’ player.  He was a delegator, and believed it was important to encourage his people, and then give them the tools and support they needed to succeed,” said his wife, Kit Parks. “Bill’s copy of ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ was worn out from use and he lived the principles daily which endeared him to everyone he met, from the lowest level employee to major executives.”

Parks is survived by his wife, Katharine and his five children from his first marriage to Barbara Vannese Parks.  His cremains will be buried in the family plot in St. Mary’s in his hometown of Turner’s Falls, Mass.  A service will not be held, said his wife, but “well-wishers can raise a toast to him.”