Published in The Washington Post on Feb. 3, 2019
MARGARET "Ellen" PARKE
MARGARET ELLEN PARKE Of Fairfax, VA, died unexpectedly on January 22, 2019, in
Miami, FL, at the end of a Caribbean cruise. Ellen was the daughter of the late Everett A.
Parke, CDR, USN (Ret.), and the late Margaret Rebok Parke, both of Washington, D.C.
She was born at Bethesda Naval Hospital on February 12, 1950.
Because of her father's Navy career, the family lived in many different places in the United
States and around the world as Ellen was growing up. They eventually settled in
Washington, where Ellen graduated from Western (now Duke Ellington) High School
in 1967. She then attended Hollins College, Roanoke, VA, from which she graduated in
1971 with a B.A. in French, having studied for a year in Paris. Upon her college
graduation, following in her father's footsteps, Ellen joined the Central Intelligence Agency,
where she spent 34 years as an Intelligence Officer, including more than 15 years at
multiple positions in Europe. Highly respected for her operational and analytical acumen,
she spoke fluent French and had a more-than-working knowledge of several other
She mentored many young CIA officers during her career and left a lasting impact on
subsequent generations of officers. After her retirement, Ellen finally had time to become
involved as a volunteer with numerous organizations in the Washington area, and she
made valuable leadership contributions to all of them. At St. John's Episcopal Church,
Lafayette Square, she served in many capacities over the years, including assistant head
usher, lay reader, and secretary of the Vestry, and she was a strong supporter of St.
John's partnership with the Kwasa Center in South Africa, which she visited several times.
At Hollins College (now University), she served on the Alumnae Board, chaired her class
reunion, and hosted numerous alumnae events. She was particularly instrumental in
connecting Hollins students with alumnae in the Washington area for internships and
career counseling. Again following her father's lead, Ellen became an active member of
the Circumnavigators Club, an international organization of men and women who have
circled the globe. She held many offices with the Club, eventually including two terms as
its International President.
She was a member of the Army-Navy Club of Washington, where she was serving as a
member of the House Committee at the time of her death. And she was an avid
Washington Nationals fan, holding half-season tickets that she used faithfully while
following other games electronically as closely as she could wherever her travels took her.
Ellen is survived by her beloved sister, Cindy (John) Beukema, cherished nephews
Frederick (Melissa) and David Beukema, great-nephew and -niece Max and Margot
Beukema, all of Minneapolis, MN; aunt Elisabeth Ann Booth of Lower Gwynned, PA;
cousins Betsy (Tom) Knowlden of Minoa, NY and Susan (Bill) Goehrig of Burlington Twp.,
NJ; special cousins Nancy and Carl DiBella of Fairfax; and other cousins and friends too
numerous to mention. She was a strong and special friend to all, and she will be deeply
A memorial service for Ellen Parke will be held at St. John's Episcopal Church, Lafayette
Square, in Washington, on Tuesday, April 2, at 1:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, gifts in Ellen's memory may be made to Hollins University or to St. John's