Harold Parker

Obituary
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Harold A. Parker

Harold A. Parker died peacefully at his home in Tiburon on March 3, 2013 at the age of 91 with his wife, Gertrud, and daughter, Diana Rogers, at his bedside.


Born in Denver, CO in 1921, he was an accomplished violinist who served overseas during WWII in an entertainment unit of the Air Force, performing for troops after the fall of Berlin. He settled in San Francisco after the war and entered the real estate business.


In the 1960s, Harold purchased a fading Victorian with a flea market in the backyard on San Francisco's Union Street. He later renovated the property and created a rear courtyard of shops, one of several projects that helped transform Union Street into an international retail destination.


Fulfilling a life-long dream, Harold attended law school at night and passed the bar at age 51. He became a member of Bay Area Lawyers for the Arts and donated his time to represent a variety of artists.


The arts played a major part in Harold's life. Together with Gertrud, herself an artist, he assembled a substantial collection of surrealist art that was recently the subject of an exhibition at the Sonoma County Museum together with Gertrud's own work.


They were married for 57 years and remained the love of each other's life, as well as best friends. Harold's passion for the violin continued throughout his life. He played in the Oakland Symphony as well as many chamber groups. He was a patron and regular attendee of the SF Opera and was also an avid tennis player.


Harold will always be remembered for the singular speeches that he gave at weddings, holidays and other gatherings. The sight of him reaching into his jacket pocket and producing several crumpled pages was a signal to, in the words of Bette Davis, "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night."


Harold is survived by his wife, Gertrud, his daughter, Diana Rogers (James), his sons, David Parker (Christiane) and Jonathan Parker (Deborah), his grandchildren, Andy, Gabrielle, Sebastian, Jacob, Sam and Olivia, and his great-grandson, Roland. He is also survived by two sons from an earlier marriage, Rod Parker (Ruth) and Jess Miller (Pam), four grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, a nephew, Robert Ratekin, and five other nieces and nephews.


Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Mar. 6 to Mar. 10, 2013
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