Sunny Dawn (Gerhart) Park
On Dec. 1, 1971, Sunny Dawn (Gerhart) Park was born in Temple, Texas, to Mack Smoke Gerhart and Annie Jeanne Bordner. She is survived by her sweet daughters, Ashten and Berkley; her sister Sherellen and husband Jon; brother Kyle and wife Alicia; brother Shane and wife Elena; Smokey and Brenda Gerhart; Jeanne and Frank Hoffman; and a long list of extended family.
Gone too soon, Sunny Dawn Park passed away on Thursday, April 15, 2021. The mother of Ashten and Berkley could light up any room that she walked into and strike up a conversation with anyone in it. Within 30 minutes you would know her life story and she would know yours. You would have made a lifelong friend. She was emphatic: full of love, life and energy. She always rooted for the underdog and made everyone feel at home. Status was of little importance to her, and she saw everyone as equal. She was voted “friendliest” in high school and carried that title until she passed.
Sunny loved being a mom. She always felt that it was what she was placed here to do. She got the most comfort out of being with Ashten and Berkley and wanted the best for them in everything they did. If they were ever threatened, the entire force of Sunny would be unleashed to protect them. And it was fierce; they would be protected. She was always up for a good game of Yahtzee, Old Maid or Apples to Apples (#rosaparksalwayswins). She had a hard time keeping a straight face in Old Maid and you couldn’t be too literal in Apples to Apples.
She had the most beautiful eye for design and found peace in creating a home. Her love for flowers shown through in her landscaping projects.
Sunny always had a level of drive and perseverance that most of us could never match. When she wanted to do something, she wouldn’t stop until it was just perfect. This was especially evident in her many years spent at Billings Clinic. So much of her identity came from serving others and making processes the most efficient from all aspects from which they could be analyzed. Her heart was with the patients.
Growing up in Texas, Sunny really enjoyed becoming a cheerleader in high school. She cheered competitively and for sporting events when she was young, and then she cheered for people daily for the rest of her life. She was exactly what a cheerleader is supposed to be, both for sporting events and in life. She was never really a sports fan; she was a people fan.
Sunny never realized how much she impacted other people’s lives. She was driven by knowing she was helping someone, even if it meant she gave up everything to do it. There are no words or enough pages to detail everything about her. She was unique and amazing. She was the definition of her name, Sunny Park.
Finding peace is hard, and she fought every single day looking for it. She studied it, researched it, performed all of the tasks that she was told would lead her there, but just couldn’t quite find it. It wasn’t there for her to find. She had one last option that she held back from because of her children. But eventually she couldn’t hang on any longer. We know that you have finally found peace, Sunny, we can all feel it. And many years down the road when we get to see you again, we will be excited to see your smile, and you soaking in the sun doing the things you love. We will take it down here; everything will be ok. A light burned out last week that we will never get to see again, but will always cherish. You are unforgettable and we will never stop thinking about you. You will always be with us and we will always love you.
Join us at 2 p.m. on Friday, April 23, at Harvest Church, 1235 W. Wicks Lane, Billings, to celebrate Sunny.
Sunny loves flowers, but if you would prefer to make a donation in her name, consider the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Sunny’s Memorial Fund at the link below.
Donations may be made to Sunny’s daughters in their names at Stockman Bank.