Longtime Chapel Hill resident, Kai Mei Parks died at the Hospice and Palliative Care Center of Alamance-Caswell on October 22nd of cancer following a brief illness. She was 78 years old. Born July 21, 1937, Kai Mei was the daughter of Chang Shang-Tsze and Beulah I-Tan Nin of Shanghai, China. She moved to Hong Kong in her early teens and later to England where she earned her high school diploma and studied x-ray technology, and subsequently moved to southern California to be with other members of her family. While in California she met her future husband, Clifford R. Parks, whom she married June 4, 1964. In 1967, they relocated to Chapel Hill, where she continued to work part-time and raise a family.Well-known for her tapestry weaving, Kai Mei was a gifted artist and won numerous awards for her tapestries. She enjoyed mountain hiking and whenever she came upon an interesting overlook she would make pause to make sketches, which were inspirations for her future tapestries. She was an active member of the Triangle Weavers Guild. She enjoyed sharing her craft and in later years taught classes at the Orange County Senior Center. While in North Carolina, she became interested in horticulture. In 1979 she started Camellia Forest Nursery. One of her favorite Camellias was named in her honor, ‘Kai Mei’s Choice’, a bright pink fall bloomer. Another of her favorites was ‘Crimson Candles’, which she told customers always bloomed on Valentine’s Day. First operated out of her backyard, the nursery served both local and national customers through mail order. In the mid-1990s, Kai Mei was joined by by her son David, relocating and ultimately expanding the nursery to its current location in Chapel Hill. Even after she retired, Kai Mei regularly worked in the nursery until shortly before her death. Kai Mei enjoyed many long-term friendships across a broad community of enthusiastic gardeners and collectors.Surviving Kai Mei Parks are her former husband, Clifford R. Parks, of Chapel Hill; sons, Robert Tek-Sun Parks of San Francisco and David Wei-Sun Parks of Chapel Hill; sisters Annie Chang, of Palo Alto, California, and Charmaine Klepper of Darmstadt Germany; and grand-children Alexander Tilden Parks and Julia Shu Chen Parks, of Chapel Hill. She was predeceased by two brothers. A celebration of Kai Mei’s life will be held at the North Carolina Botanical Gardens on November 15th at 2pm.