William Boyd Parker

William Boyd Parker 82, ascended from the confines and suffering of this existence into the freedom, peace, and bliss of the spiritual realm early on the morning of January 26, 2013. He always was an early riser, knowing that life was short and that in the here and now opportunities abounded, with no time for wasteful slumber. His spirit is a strong one and in this life he profoundly affected all people, places, and events he came into contact with. Where other men walked with trepidation, Bill strode boldly forward, fearless of the dark void of the unknown; propelled forward by a keen intellect, spellbinding charisma, and a dogmatic determination to live life on his own terms and as only he saw fit. Bill began this life on July 22, 1930 in the backwoods of Eaton, Tennessee. It was the beginning of that misery we call the Great Depression. He grew up in a shack with no plumbing with two brothers, two sisters, and parents that could barely keep food on the table due to the hardship of the times. By the time he was six he woke up at 4:00 a.m. every morning so he could pick cotton to help earn money for the family. Afterward he would walk four miles to school and four miles back home, regardless of weather conditions. He was not one to complain, he was not one to give in or give up, he was one of those rare human beings that through the indomitable strength of his willpower always fought until he found a way to transcend above the people, obstacles, and conditions that attempted to constrain and limit the potential of his irrepressible and great human spirit. In 1948 Bill graduated from Springhill High School with honors. He was voted wittiest and most handsome of his class. Shortly after, he joined the U.S. Air Force where he studied surveying and travelled the country playing for the basketball team against other bases, branches, and small colleges. He excelled at basketball and started all four years he served, and was always one of the top players on the team. In 1953, after honorably finishing his service to his country, he moved to Carlsbad, New Mexico where he began a career as a copper mine mechanic. In his 19 years of service to the copper industry he learned to become very proficient in fixing anything that required a motor and moving parts. For the rest of his life he took great pride in doing all of his own maintenance on his automobiles, equipment, and households. In 1966 his mining career led him to move to Tucson, Arizona. And there, in that ancient Indian pueblo, nestled below the majestic ageless windswept Rincons, he began attending the University of Arizona while also working in the mines. The poor Tennessee boy had bigger dreams and decided he wanted more than the life of a copper miner. In 1972 Bill earned a bachelor's degree in Real Estate and Finance from U of A. He was the first Parker in the known history of the family, which is a history of poor Tennessee farmers trying to eek out an existence, to earn a college degree. He then immediately applied for a broker's license, and after passing the test and a special board review he became the first man in the history of the state of Arizona to become a real estate broker without going to broker school first. Soon after he moved to Pinetop, Arizona. After so many years of dust bowls and deserts his heart yearned for the luscious green earth and tree covered hills of his youth. Pinetop-Lakeside, high in the mountains at over 7000 feet, in the heart of monumentous pine covered ridges, stands in a tiny valley cut out, and completely surrounded by thick pine hilly woodlands, marshes, lakes, and rivers. It was love at first sight and the place for many years that he would call home. The Tennessee boy had a profound love of nature. In nature he could always find himself, no matter how lost he had become in the raging torrent of our urbanized prefabricated world. As a boy he had learned to be a proficient fisherman, rifle hunter and woodsman. If the world collapsed, all he needed was a rifle, a knife, an ax, and a piece of nature to stalk and he, unlike so many of the rest of us who would die without grocery stores and burger joints, could survive and flourish. And it was there in Pinetop where he flourished like never before. He would eventually open a highly successful real estate and mortgage brokerage, own many lands, cabins, homes, apartments and become involved in many other business ventures. His highly developed intellect, quick wits, and smooth southern charm served him well in the arena of modern business and he created much abundance for himself and his family. It was also here that he met the love of his life and wife of the better part of 40 years, Martha Lynn Parker, they had amazing adventures together and lived life fully in each others arms. Their life was not without tumult however. Bill, being tall, handsome, and charming had a lifelong weakness for beautiful women. He was married three times, all three being ended by his infidelities. In 1985 Bill and Marti got divorced, and Marti moved to Tucson with their three children. In 1989 they reconciled and Bill moved from his beloved Pinetop-Lakeside/Show Low area to Tucson so he could be closer to his children and be with his wife. They never left each other's side again. She wanted it to be mentioned here that despite her husband's womanizing ways in their earlier days, she never stopped loving him and he will forever be the love of her life. Bill is preceded in death by his mother, Mary Parker; his father, Chester Parker; brothers, James Parker and Charles Parker; sister, Doris Parker; ex-wife, Elaine and his son, Steve Parker. He is survived by sister, Fay; loving wife, Marti; his sons, Bill Jr., Jeff and Jason; daughters, Brenda and Tammy; ex-wife, Shirley; grandsons, Steve Jr., Daniel, Kiefer and Royce as well as many loving nieces and nephews. In his children and grandchildren Bill instilled strength of character through strength of self. He showed love through action more than expression, and he was always there for his family, devoted to the task of positively helping to shape their lives. He was a great man from a generation of Americans that had values and actually gave a damn. They were willing to fight for just causes as Bill himself would do on so many occasions. His children and grandchildren are blessed to have had such a family patriarch to imbue them with the idea that their life had meaning, because being a Parker meant something. Being a Parker meant standing up for yourself and that which you believe in, being a Parker meant lending your strength to your family and those in need, because not everyone is gifted with the ability to create abundance for themselves. But if you are a Parker you know that a life of abundance and more can be yours because we saw our patriarch, rise from the depths of poverty and despair and create abundance for himself and his family where others would have perished. He made us believe anything was possible and that we too had that strength within us, because we too were a Parker. And so for our dearly departed patriarch we will fight on with minds to the purpose of carrying on the inspiring legacy he created for us. We will stand for ourselves and for each other, with indomitable wills, irrepressible spirits, and keen intellects focused on visionary futures. As generations of Romans expanded the empire of their forefathers we will expand the legacy of Bill Parker, and what he created from nothing we will carry on to ever further heights, cultivating our minds and opening our hearts to new possibilities. And we will always live with his spirit in our hearts. And one day when our journeys come to their end we will rejoin our patriarch and rejoice as a family, finally freed from the bondage of life, and together we will be free and at peace. A Viewing and Celebration of Bill's life will be held at ANGEL VALLEY FUNERAL HOME, 2545 N. Tucson Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85716 on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 2:00 p.m., the pastor will speak at 3:30 p.m.


Published in the Arizona Daily Star on Jan. 31, 2013