Isobel Parke 1926-2020

ISabel Park

Isobel Parke was born in 1926 in Dorset, UK, the 3rd of 5 daughters of Charles and Jean Hamilton Gordon Parke.  She graduated from the Winsor School, Boston, MA, and Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, UK, with a degree in History in 1947.  Isobel worked for a short time at the UK Ministry of Education. After teaching in Germany and Kenya, she served as the adult education manager at Moor Park College (Farnham, UK) for 12 years.

In 1965, Isobel joined the behavioral public relations and management consulting firm of Jackson Jackson and Wagner in NH, where she provided invaluable counsel to clients in a wide variety of industries for over 5 decades.  She was a trailblazer, advocating for public relations practitioners to have a place at the decisionmaking table and influencing the PR field with their innovative strategies and behavior-change theories.  She was married to Patrick Jackson, a past PRSA president and PR leader in the public relations field.

An accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Isobel served as National Secretary.  She was inducted into the College of Fellows in 1991.  She served as PRSA’s representative on the Council for Journalism and Mass Communications as well as on two PRSA education commissions. Isobel was best known for her work with independent schools and environmental concerns. Her work with the coalition SPACE (Statewide Program of Action to Conserve our Environment) led to a NH constitutional amendment change in 1968 and passage of the current use law to preserve open space in NH – a law that still stands today. She was the first woman president of the NH Timberland Owners Association and served on both the boards of Lamprey River Watershed Association and UNH Cooperative Extension Rockingham County Advisory Council. Passionate about land conservation, she worked closely with the Southeast Land Trust on their efforts to conserve open space.

Since 1963, Isobel lived on Tributary Farm, a 1745 house in West Epping, NH with 700 blueberry bushes and 160 acres of forest land.  She loved spending time outdoors and in her garden; and every July, she would host a blueberry breakfast for members of her JJ&W family. Raised in the Episcopalian church, she became a long-time member of the West Epping Quaker Meeting.  Loved and respected by countless family members, friends, professional colleagues and clients, Isobel will be missed by us all.


A Celebration of Life will be held in the spring and announced when set. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to a conservation or environmental fund of your choice.

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6 thoughts on “Isobel Parke 1926-2020”

  1. I will forever be grateful to Isobel for stepping into the breach and guiding me with wise counsel through a tough period. She was smart, caring, intuitive, tough as needed and keenly insightful about people and circumstances. Just look at the kindness and intelligence in her eyes. — Bob Henderson

  2. Isobel was my champion and was the epitome of human grace, genuine compassion and true class. When needed the most, she had an uncanny and tenacious side to her that one only knew from desperate and unimaginable times. Isobel’s ability to size up a disparate crisis was her gift that allowed for a greater sense of calm and command. Immediate bonds of trust were created in her presence. I’ve met no other equal to Isobel’s abilities in the PR field in my 5 decades of working experiences that could do so well in prescribing under pressure such measures needed at the moment of crisis. All who knew her will be lost without her for now, but her model for how to be in life will live on within us.

  3. There have been many lovely notes and thoughts coming in. We have captured just a few here. Please add yours if you wish!

    ” Isobel had a great mind and a heart to match.” David Jon Therkelsen

    “Have known and admired Isobel for many years. She did so much for our profession and was such a strong advocate for public relations education and research. Most of all, she was gracious, wise, and passionate about the people and causes she believed in. We will all miss her; her memory lives on.” Judy Phair

    “She was an interesting and kind woman of character. I enjoyed every meeting with her.” Vincent Hazelton

    “Isobel was such a force of good for us all.” Debbie Mason

    “What a wonderful person she was. My fondest memory, perhaps, was after a national board meeting in New York, after which we flew to New Hampshire for Pat’s memorial and had a nice reception at her house. What tremendous contributions Isobel made as a public relations professional and as a person.” Dean Kruckenberg

    “So saddened known and admired her for years” Rhoda Weiss

    “‘Grateful thanks for Isobel’s life, love and light! We’re all smarter and maybe a bit more kind and generous for her influence!” Laura Simoes

    “Isobel had such empathy, grace, wit and wisdom. We are all enriched and kinder for knowing her. She will live forever in our hearts.” Ann Getman

    “Quick wit, caring heart and a PR professional’s professional!” Bill Koch

    “I had many conversations over the years with Isobel. What a delightful soul she was. Her contributions to your firm and our profession will be missed.” Terry Flynn

    “My summer interning with JJ&W and living with Isobel on Tributary Farms was an important point in my life” Meredith Topalanchick

    “Such a smart strategist and generous full-hearted woman. A quiet and persistent leader with deep convictions” Betsy Kovacs

    “Isobel was such an inspiration to me and several others who we worked with at WMI, preparing for contentious public hearings. I can still recall our first meeting with Isobel at Edgewater Office Park – and Pat Banfield asking why we needed her assistance. He figured that out pretty quickly once the public opposition started to mount. Without her assistance I don’t believe I, and the company, would ever have made it thru that hearing and many others thereafter. ” Pat Spooner

    “One of my favorite memories of Isobel is one of the last times we were at Tributary Farm, giving us a tour of the house, even the attic, and her talking about the history of the house. There was always something to learn from her. Another is witnessing her tripping over some books in the office at Front Street, and her turning around and saying excuse me to them. ” Jenna Price

    “I will be forever grateful to her (and you!) for stepping into the breach and guiding me with wise counsel through a tough period. She was smart, caring, intuitive, tough as needed, and keenly insightful about people and circumstances.” Bob Henderson

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