The Parkes Family
The Parkes family’s philanthropy and volunteer leadership have enabled the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) to significantly advance the field of asthma care and research. Walter Parkes; his late wife, Carmina; their children, Susan, Tom, and Linda; and their spouses established the first asthma center in the region in 1995. Mary, Walter and Carmina’s daughter, was diagnosed with acute asthma as a young girl and spent time as an intensive care unit nurse before her lung disease progressed. She was hospitalized more than 50 times in the decade before her passing in 1991.
To help other patients and families dealing with the management of this challenging disease, the family has dedicated time and resources to support The Mary M. Parkes Center for Asthma, Allergy and Pulmonary Care at URMC. For the past 24 years, Susan Parkes-McNally and her family have collaborated with the Junior Builders Exchange to organize an annual golf tournament to support the Parkes Center. In 2017, the family established the Walter and Carmina Mary Parkes Family Endowed Distinguished Professorship at the School of Medicine and Dentistry, helping to advance asthma research treatment options. The Parkes family’s generosity also extends to cancer and neuroscience programs at URMC. The common driver for all of their philanthropy is the desire to make a difference in the lives of patients and their families.
Volunteerism and service are also core values of the Parkes family. Over the years, family members have served on many community boards including the YMCA, Pluta Cancer Center, Harley School, Electrical Contractors Foundation, and URMC. Susan Parkes-McNally currently chairs the advancement committee of the URMC board, and is a member of the board’s executive, facilities, and quality of care committees.
The Parkes family’s longstanding partnership URMC has been essential to the success of clinical, research, and education programs designed to improve asthma care. The family has been tireless in their efforts to advocate for patients and families with asthma and their commitment serves as an inspiration to others who are eager to make a difference in the Rochester community.