Writing this has been one of the most difficult things I have had to do, certainly in recent times. I concur with the many people who described Billy as "larger than life." This is a phrase I had immediately thought of to try, in some way, to capture this man who had the capacity to envelop one in his enthusiasm for life, for to be with Billy was like being at a nonstop celebration.
I first met Billy and Tim through my partner, Richard, who had served in the Intelligence Corps with Billy when they were in the army in Texas. Richard always said that it was the greatest oxymoron since Billy and Richard had already read the confidential reports that passed before them in the New York Times the week before. Richard spoke often of Bill and Tim and of his days off when he would pass the time sitting with Tim, who had just given birth to Nevil, and it was always with an affection that time could not diminish.
When I visited Tim and Bill for the first time in their home in Connecticut, I was apprehensive about joining a friendship that had transcended so much time. It took about three seconds to be welcomed into the circle of warmth and love that Tim and Billy exuded. That first meeting we were up until three in the morning before we realized how the time had flown. Richard and Tim spent much of it discussing literature while Billy showed me his work and his home studio, and we discussed his incredible art and so many aspects of art history. The brilliance that was Bill Parker shown brightly that night, as it did on every other occasion when we were together.
Billy was so knowledgeable, so talented and innovative, so capable of creating artistically and in every other way. Whether with a camera, a paint brush, or a tool, whatever he set his mind to do, he did with perfection. There are so many wonderful memories that I have of this incredible human being, that I cannot share them all.
One memory that I do have is of being with the Parkers around Christmas time and seeing Billy create fantastic three-dimensional paper Santa Clauses that could stand on a table and which he shared with those for whom he was a mentor.
His perfection extended to every aspect of his life. Never would you see Billy not impeccably turned out, thanks to the hours of Tim's ironing so that every crease was sharp and perfect and every shirt like new. Billy relied heavily on Tim and the love that they shared for each other and for Nevil is something remarkable.
I will always remember when Richard died and I spoke with Tim and then Billy and the comfort they provided me. Of all those with whom I spoke after Richard's death, they were the only ones driven to tears --- so great was the friendship and love that existed among them. I was lucky enough to share in that love, and although time and distance may interfere, it will never diminish, nor will my affection for them. I believe that I am indeed blessed to have known Billy and to have shared in our conversations and experiences.
One always learned from Billy who was a master of creativity, but also a purveyor of infinite knowledge and wisdom, a champion of the English language spoken correctly, a mentor, a teacher, and a guide who allowed you to grow beyond yourself.
I am saddened beyond words that this dear friend and I will no longer share such times. I can only imagine how difficult it is for Tim and Nevil to lose a husband and father. However, I hope that they, as I, will be sustained by the incredible memories of so gifted and loving a man.
I extend my heartfelt condolences to Tim and Nevil on their loss.