Irma Jean Parks-Iheukumere was born to Rogers and Pearlean (Jackson) Parks in Madison, WI on April 7, 1947. A devoted Christian, Irma was baptized, at an early age, at St. Paul AME Church.
Preceding her in death are her parents, and twin brother, Eugene Parks.
In 1965 she and her brother were the first African Americans to graduate from Robert M. La Follette High School. She earned an associate’s degree in business administration from Madison Business College in 1967.
In 1971 Irma married Simeon Iheukumere. She birthed a son, Kanu, and a daughter, Astra.
She loved studying the Bible and serving the church in various capacities. She was a giver of her time, talent, and treasure- especially singing in the choir and leading vacation Bible school. In 1990, she joined Mt. Zion Baptist Church, where she remained a member until her death.
Irma had a passion for youth and education, spending several years supporting teachers and students in various capacities. She was proud of her work with developmentally disabled children through MMSD. In her spare time, she supported the family business, Mr. P’s Place, helping her father and brother to open, close and bartend frequently. She also served the broader community, having been a City of Madison Poll Precinct Co-Captain for approximately a decade, Likewise, she was a Dane Dances volunteer, which is an annual event to promote diversity and fellowship in the City of Madison, for a decade as well. Through countless acts of volunteerism, Irma was a strong advocate for racial equity and civil liberties.
Irma was an avid reader and movie buff. She enjoyed rhythm & blues as well as gospel music. Her favorite pastimes were socializing with close friends and family, and discussing current events. She loved generously and always relished a good laugh.
On Wednesday, October 16, 2019, Irma made her transition from earth to heavenly reward.
Irma will always be fondly remembered by those whose lives she touched. She is survived by her sister, Lucille Loyce; her children, Kanu and Astra; her nieces and nephew, Wendy, Stacey, Kendra, Valentina, and E. Reginald; and a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and church family.