Miss Keepers of the Crown

Carolyn Jane Parkinson 1961Carolyn Jane Parkinson - Miss Kansas 1961

It was the Centennial Year of celebration for our wonderful state when Carolyn Jane Parkinson became Miss Kansas 1961! She met many of the finest citizens all across Kansas. Since it was the Centennial Year, Carolyn set a record for the most attended events of any former Miss Kansas, while still continuing her music education studies at the University of Kansas! This meant parades, fairs, presentations, horse shows, and after the Miss America event, she was crowned American Royal Queen (Kansas City, Missouri, Horse and Stock Show), representing KU as one of the Big Eight Universities! She even spent a day with Rock Hudson, appearing in an event in Kansas City, and did a commercial with Dennis Day! After Atlantic City, David Merick, one of the Miss America Judges and Broadway producer, wanted her to audition for “The Night They Raided Minsky’s.” The audition was scheduled the week before Spring finals. She had to decline! Just think, if she had made it to Broadway, she might never have married Dave C. Gough, had their three wonderful children and eight grandchildren!

The year of 1961 – 1962, became one of the most treasured, as her chaperone was her mother, Elma Parkinson, who loved every event as well! Carolyn met with the Kansas Legislature many times and in particular became friends with Senator Bob Dole. It was 15 years later that he became the spokesman for her father and the naming of the Henry D. Parkinson Federal Building in Scott City, Kansas! This was the first time in the State of Kansas that a federal building had been named after a citizen.

Carolyn and David experienced wonderful year in Kansas City, where he attended the K.U. Medical School. After joining the Army, they spent three years in San Francisco for his Internal Medical Residency; Denver, Colorado, where he earned his Cardiology Fellowship; followed by three amazing years in Landstuhl, Germany. His last station of service was with Brooke Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas. They have been residents of El Paso, Texas, since 1978. Carolyn and David have been married 55 years, have three children, Amy Pierce, Houston, Texas; Joel Gough, Austin, Texas; and, Jeremy Gough, Los Angeles! They have 8 grandchildren and Chris, the oldest, graduated from Kansas University in June, 2019!

Carolyn became The Woman of the Year, honored by The El Paso Times in 2014 for her teaching endeavors in Entrepreneurship at the University of Texas at El Paso. The highest honor a Texas citizen can obtain is having the Texas Flag flown in their honor over the dome of the Texas Capital, Austin, Texas. Carolyn achieved this great honor!

She traveled the world presenting papers and establishing Entrepreneurship Centers in Eastern Europe, Europe, Australia and America. Several honors she received were from Entrepreneur Magazine as the Runner-Up for the Educator of the Year and The Freedom Award by the United States Small Business Association.

The best day of Carolyn’s year as Miss Kansas 1961, was the “Send Off” parade in her hometown of Scott City, before she flew to Atlantic City. Every civic organization met in the city’s square and there were over 2,000 people present ... that’s almost as big as the town (3,000)! Carolyn is very grateful for the dedication of volunteers in Pratt, Kansas, who make the yearly, scholarship pageant a wonderful opportunity for the young women of Kansas.


Miss Kansas
June 11, 2022
Dennis Lesh Sports Arena

Pratt Community College in Pratt, KS

Miss Kansas' Outstanding Teen
March 25-27, 2022
Liberty Middle School in Pratt, KS