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William Parker Alford Obituary

Parker Alford died March 11 in international waters off the coast of Baja, California while enjoying a cruise with family members. He had arranged the cruise as a tribute to his family as a final gesture, as he knew that his health was rapidly deteriorating. On the final day of the cruise he died quickly and painlessly in the presence of his family. Son of William and Ruby Alford, he was born in London Ontario. Parker was a bright student, and went on to earn his BSc in physics and mathematics from the University of Western Ontario in 1949. That same year he married Jeanette Wadland of Stratford, Ontario. He then attended Princeton University and graduated with a Ph.D in physics in 1954. Following graduate school Parker and Jan moved to Rochester, N.Y., where Parker taught and conducted research at the physics department at the University of Rochester. After 24 years Parker and Jan returned to the University of Western Ontario, where Parker held the position of chairman of the physics department. In 1992 the University of Western Ontario conferred upon him the title Professor Emeritus. Upon retirement the couple moved to the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, where they spent their final years. While in retirement, Parker remained actively involved with both TRIUMF and ElderCollege. Parker's beloved wife of 61 years Jan died in October of 2010. Parker is survived by his two sons, David, of Whitehorse, Yukon and Stephen, of Hood River, Oregon, and by granddaughter Cambria and her mother, Caroline, of Whitehorse. He was predeceased by daughter Mary Joan (1953-1977). He is also survived by brother Peter Alford and sisters Donna Lansing and Marilyn Beerman, and many in-laws, cousins, nieces and nephews in Canada and the US. As a young man Parker was an avid camper, skier, and traveler. He and Jan spent many years living abroad in Amsterdam, Netherlands; Munich, Germany; Boulder, Colorado; Dundee, Scotland; Vancouver, B.C., and Melbourne, Australia. Parker spent countless hours reading, engaging others in discussion, and enjoying opera. He was a gentleman, and fostered many friendships which were a source of great pleasure to him. At Parker's request no formal funeral was held, and following cremation his ashes were scattered along with Jan's in the Memorial Garden of Courtenay Cemetery.

This obituary was originally published in the Comox Valley Echo (Courtenay, BC).
Read Full Obituary for William Alford
Published online on March 18, 2011 courtesy of Comox Valley Echo.

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