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Raymond "Ray" Charles Parker Sr., born July 8, 1940, in Bozeman, Mont., died April 21, 2013, in Orange City, where he had moved with his family in 1972. He was 72. Ray ran Parker Lawn Service in Orange City from 1983 until his passing. Ray also owned Parker Concrete in Orange City in the decade prior to starting the lawn care business. Since moving to Orange City in 1972, Ray has been active in civic organizations and sports officiating. He was public works director for the city of Orange City and chaired both the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Charter Review Commission. He also was president of the Parent-Teacher Association at Orange City Elementary School and a commissioner for the Boy Scouts of America in Orlando. But it was on athletic fields and in arenas where Ray's impact may have been felt the most. In addition to more than 40 years of multi-generational refereeing and umpiring of football, basketball, baseball and softball games, Ray held several officer or leadership positions with such groups as A-1 Officials Association, Diamond Umpires Association, Florida Baseball School, Orange Baseball Umpires Association, Florida College Umpires Association, and the Florida High School Athletic Association. He was one of the founders of, and helped clear the land for and construct, Valentine Park. Ray also was a co-founder and president of Southwest Volusia Little League, a founder of Lake Helen Little League, and a founder and president of Southwest and Northwest Volusia Miss Softball America programs. Ray also was an on-air personality for "Uncle Hubie's Penthouse Barnyard" on an Orlando TV station in the mid-1970s, and performed as a singer / entertainer with shows in nightclubs throughout Central Florida in the 1980s. In 1962, Ray earned his Bachelor of Science in film & television production at Montana State College in Bozeman. He also got an Associate of Science in concrete technology at what is now Daytona State College in 1973. Ray was a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, in which he enlisted after graduating from college in 1962. He rose to the rank of captain and served two tours in Vietnam as a pilot of fighters, transports and helicopters in 468 combat missions. Among the more than three dozen medals Ray received was the Gallantry Cross. He was given an honorable discharge in 1969. Ray was predeceased by his parents, Llos Frank Parker and Leona Cramer Parker, and his son, Raymond Charles Parker Jr. He is survived by his daughters, Tami Lynn Parker of Orange City; Teri Jo Parker Johnson (and husband Doug Johnson) of Winchester, Va.; and Lysa Ann Parker of Atlanta, Ga.; and their mother, Juanita "Nita" Bergquist. Ray also is survived by grandson Johnnie "JP" Elton Parker (and partner Krista Lai) and their children, daughters Kimora Jade Parker and Jaidah A'Lexis Quinones, and sons Richie Miguel-Guage Quinones and Neicko Manuel Quinones; another grandson, Justin Michael Hatch; and granddaughter Gloria Dian Smiley (and partner Theron "Lucky" McKiver) and their children Keyonna Tamia Thomas and Sincere McKiver. He is also survived by his sister, Patricia Lee Parker Gibson of Willow Creek, Mont., and two nieces, Toni Gibson and Nancy Gibson Nesbit (and her husband Dave Nesbit). Ray enjoyed spending time with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Rarely a day passed when Ray didn't have a joke to tell his family, customers, banks tellers, friends and passers-by. He loved to laugh and to make people laugh. Ray's family is planning a memorial service for family and friends at Valentine Park, 1511 W. French Ave., Orange City, beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 29. His family invites everyone to celebrate the life of Ray Parker; dress is "summer casual" (no jackets or ties) as the service will be held outdoors under a covered pavilion. Anyone wishing to speak at the service should call Lysa Parker at 770-214-5600.
Published in Daytona Beach News-Journal on June 16, 2013