Susan Hanson Parkes Mullins, 59, died suddenly of a heart attack in her home in Simi Valley, California on November 17, 2013. She was born in Livingston, Montana on May 19, 1954 to Mimi and Jack Parkes. She was the second of four children and was raised in Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone Park, Wyoming until she was four years old, old enough to have several close encounters with bears and tourists. In 1958, the Parkes family moved to Billings, Montana.
As a child, Susie loved to read, write, and entertain. She was a dynamo of energy as well as a loving, spontaneous and hilarious sister with an unbound passion for planning and communication. Sue graduated from Billings West High School in 1972 and then earned a journalism degree from the University of Montana in 1976, where she was an active member of Alpha Phi. After graduation, Sue followed through with her dream to live on her own in Chicago. In short order, she landed her first professional job at the Leo Burnett advertising agency. She found her niche when she was hired by McDonald’s Corporation in 1985, beginning her first of many McDonald’s placements as a Marketing Supervisor and then a Manager in New Orleans. She relocated to Phoenix, Arizona in 1990, and continued in management and found the love of her life, Tom Mullins, where together they had their son, Tyler in 1994. In 1998, Sue and her family moved to Simi Valley, in the LA area, where she continued to work for the McDonald’s Corporation, while developing her vision and her considerable teaching, mentoring, and team skills with all levels of the leadership, with owners and operators, and in the not-for-profit sector in board leadership. She was promoted to Marketing Director in 2001, the position she held until she died.
However enthusiastic Sue was about her work, her family knew more about her generosity and playfulness, her fondness for winning in Hearts and Charades, and her avocations as photographer, master researcher, and power-shopper. When she died this last Sunday, she was preparing to join in the family’s celebration of her mother’s 85th birthday next week. Sue hated to miss anything, and we all miss her so much already.
She leaves her loving husband, Tom Mullins, of Simi Valley, California, and her son Tyler Mullins who is attending Susie’s Alma Mater at UM in Missoula. She is survived by her proud mother, Mimi Parkes, of Billings. She was preceded in death by her beloved father, Jack Parkes, who passed away in 2001. She is also survived by her sister and brother-in-law of Bellingham, Washington, Christine Parkes Groom and Gary Groom, and nephew Peter Parkes Russell; sister and brother-in-law of Billings, Libby Parkes Markus and Jim Markus; nephew and his wife of Cheyenne, Wyoming, Jamie Markus, Jenn Mathia Markus, and grand-niece Emerson; niece and husband of Billings, Julia Markus Lennick and Matt Lennick, and grand-nieces Ainsley and Alivia; and niece Molly Markus of Billings (and MSU); brother and sister-in-law of Bozeman, John Parkes, Jr., Heidi Graff Parkes and nieces Hannah Parkes and Rachel Parkes (University of Denver); and father-in-law and brother-in-law of Chandler, Arizona, Richard Mullins and Richard Mullins, Jr. and brothers-in-law Harry Mullins of Blacksburg, South Carolina and William Mullins of Mesa, Arizona.
Susie’s bright and beautiful spirit will continue to live on through all those who were blessed to know her.
A memorial service has been planned for Wednesday, November 27th at 11 a.m. at the Mayflower Congregational Church in Billings. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Ronald McDonald House of Pasadena, located at 763 S. Pasadena Ave., Pasadena, CA 91105.