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Obituaries > PARKER, RICHARD J.

Mr. Richard James Parker, 96, formerly of Greensboro, died Friday, March 22, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia at Gentiva Hospice, Emory University Hospital. Mr. Parker had been in excellent health until January of this year. He died of complications from Burkett’s lymphoma. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 March 27, 2013, at Forbis and Dick Guilford Chapel, 5926 W. Friendly Avenue in Greensboro with visitation preceding the service at 10:00. Interment will follow at Westminster Gardens, 3601 Whitehurst Road. A Memorial Service will also be held in Atlanta in early April at Wesley Woods Towers with date and time to be determined after the funeral. Mr. Parker was born in Akron, Ohio on January 27, 1917. He graduated from the University of Akron with a degree in Business Administration. He was a member of the track team and the president of his fraternity, Lone Star. His career with Goodyear was interrupted by four years of service in the United States Marine Corps. Following basic training at Parris Island and Officers Candidate School at Quantico, Virginia, he fought in the South Pacific at the battles of Bougainville, Guadalcanal, Guam, and Okinawa. From 1942 until it was disbanded in 1943, Lt. Parker was a member of the Marine Corps elite unit, the Raider Battalion. After settling in Greensboro, he achieved the rank of Captain in the reserve unit, and he became a member of the Marine Corps League. Also, he was initiated into Greensboro Masonic Lodge #76 of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. For over thirty years, he managed several tire companies in town including Strong Goodyear, Elkin Tire, and Piedmont Tire Company. In retirement, Mr. Parker trained and competed for over eighteen years in the Greensboro Senior Games, the Raleigh State Finals, and once in the National Senior Games in St. Louis. He won numerous awards and medals in several events, but most especially in the 1500 meter race walk. Other hobbies included fishing, reading, gardening, home repair, and meeting his “coffee buddies” daily to discuss “the state of everything.” After the death of his wife of almost sixty-four years, Donnie Vee Parker, a native of Greensboro, Mr. Parker moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he lived independently for seven years on the edge of the Emory University campus at Wesley Woods Towers, his new “home away from home.” Here, he made many new friends and engaged in numerous enlightening activities, including becoming the resident DJ. On Friday afternoons, he enjoyed nothing better than spinning classics from the ’30s, the ’40s, and the ’50s for anyone willing to stroll with him down Memory Lane one more time. Often asked about the secret of his longevity, Mr. Parker summed it up as family and friends, a healthy diet and lifestyle, moderation, a good novel and a daily newspaper, discussion and debate of ideas and current events, regular aerobic exercise, and trying to maintain a sense of humor, especially when all else fails. His daughter described him as current but wise, spontaneous and enthusiastic, comfortable to be around, a great listener, and “just a lot of fun.” His son-in law described him as “a teenager in a ninety-six year old body.” Throughout his life, he believed in hard work, being of service to others, and in the Marine motto on his door at “The Towers”: Semper Fidelis, “Always Loyal.” Family members state that not only will he be missed on a daily basis, but that his spirit and passion will be impossible to replace. Richard Parker is survived by his daughter, Marsha Koenig; his son-in-law, Harvey Koenig; his grandson, Michael Koenig; his granddaughter, Blair Koenig; his nephew, Donald James, and his niece, Jacqueline Combs. Donations may be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and to the Marines Helping Marines Hospital.