Suzanne Vincent Stainback Parker

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Surrounded by her extended Sonoma County family, Suzanne Vincent Stainback Parker died peacefully in Healdsburg, California on 14 February after long-term struggles with emphysema and breast cancer. Suzanne was born 6 October 1944, in Richmond, Virginia, and was the adopted daughter of William Albert Stainback, Sr. and Tempie Vincent Stainback of Emporia, Virginia. In 1962 she graduated as valedictorian of her high school class and then attended The College of William and Mary, where in 1966 she completed a BA in History. While there, she met William Carlton Parker, III, whom she married, also in 1966. The couple began a family and lived in Philadelphia, Richmond, Baltimore and northern Virginia before settling in Dallas. They were divorced in 1986. After giving birth to her children, Suzanne undertook graduate studies in Urban Affairs at Southern Methodist University and began a successful career at the City of Dallas as well as at the Federal National Mortgage Association's Dallas and Washington, DC offices, where she devised and led efforts that provided housing opportunities for America's under-served families. She retired in 2002 and left Washington for Sonoma County, California in 2010. In addition to her former husband, Suzanne is survived by two sons, Michael William Parker Stainback, 45, of Mexico City, and Douglas Vincent Parker, 42, as well as his wife, Esther Lemus, and their daughters Sydney Alexandra and Chloë Gabriela Parker, all of Windsor. She is also survived by her brother, William Albert Stainback, Jr., 66, of Dallas. An exceedingly generous "matriarch," fun-loving and adventurous, known for her frank, open and accepting nature, her acute intelligence and her often salty remarks, Suzanne was celebrated and admired by a wide circle that included multiple generations from across the nation and around the world. Her legendary humor, marathon cocktail conversations, passion for progressive politics and her desire to maximize every human being's potential for freedom and happiness are the legacy that all who loved her will honor and emulate. A memorial service will take place on Saturday 2 March at 1:00 p.m., at Madrona Manor in Healdsburg, California. In accordance with her wishes, Suzanne's ashes are to be scattered off the Sonoma coast as well as near her college in Williamsburg; the west-coast ceremony took place at sea on Saturday 23 February. The east-coast memorial service will be announced in coming weeks.
Published Online in the Press Democrat from Feb. 26 to Feb. 27, 2013
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