Born in the South, Parke traveled the country with her father who was in the Air Force, and eventually wound up in Colorado Springs. She attended college at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Her mother was an artist, so she was always playing around with paints growing up. When she got married, she followed her Air Force husband around the world, including a three-year tour in Venezuela, where she learned Spanish. She then moved back stateside, went back to school for her masters, and taught high school for 25 years. She retired in Castle Rock in 2010, and has been painting ever since.