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Kenneth Eugene Parker

1947 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Kenneth Eugene Parker Obituary
Kenneth Eugene Parker, 70, died December 15, 2017, at Kindred Hospital, El Paso, TX. Born March 09, 1947, at Barksdale AAF Field, Shreveport, LA, the son of Henry Kenneth and Juanelle (Smith) Parker. He will be greatly missed and honored by family, dear companions and a host of worldwide friends.

Ken (Gene) graduated from Las Cruces High School, Class of 1965. He enlisted in the United States Navy July 01, 1966 and proudly served for the next 26 years. The first 11 plus years he served at numerous commands including those afloat, shore based, and forward deployed in the Western Pacific. In 1974, he was selected for participation in an enlisted commissioning program called the Navy Enlisted Scientific Education Program (NESEP). He served the next 14 plus years as a Surface Warfare Officer, advancing through the ranks to retire in 1992 as a Lieutenant Commander, the Executive Officer (XO) of LCU1 in San Diego, CA. During his Officer years, he served on the USS Chicago and the USS Gridley as Ensign through Lieutenant. He was a Combat Systems Instructor, at the United States Navy Surface Warfare Officers School, for 4 years. Upon attaining the rank of Lieutenant Commander he assumed the post of the Academic Director thereof, and served as same for 2 years. During these years he completed his Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering (Computer Science Option) at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque and received his MBA from National University, San Diego, CA. Upon his retirement from the US Navy, he moved to Illinois to take a Special Agent Sworn position with the Illinois State Police (ISP) where he worked undercover narcotics investigations for 4 years. He became the department's Chief Engineer for the statewide communications systems (VHF, UHF and 800 MHz) in 1998, and in 2000 became Assistant Bureau Chief of Communications.

After he retired from the ISP in 2003, he and Karen moved to Alamogordo, NM to be closer to his mother, then Juanelle Dittmer. Ken spent his time overseeing his Alamogordo properties and reconnecting with old friends and making many more new ones. He studied for and received a NM real estate license and worked briefly with the Nelson's at Caldwell Bankers Real Estate. He then studied to become an Otero County Master Gardener, and eventually served as Vice President of the club for 3 years.

Ken had a gift for languages. He spoke (in addition to English) German, Vietnamese, and Spanish fluently, and Tagalog passably. He loved meeting people and making new friends, especially if he could converse with them in their native tongue. In addition to being a fierce friend, Ken was a highly moral man with an uncompromising sense of honor and duty, and unflagging dedication to God, Family and Country. He relished finding hard-working, honorable young people for whom he could encourage with word and deed, he tutored many people from foreign languages to calculus, and he provided more than a few with financial help, from needed groceries to obtaining their first homes. Before his health prevented it, he spoke several times to the seniors at Alamogordo High School regarding the advantages of a career in the military. He was a life-long collector, be it jokes, slide rules, old radios or muscle cars.

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by a daughter, Kimberly and several dearly loved aunts, uncles and cousins. Surviving in addition to his wife of 23 years, Karen (Higgins) Parker, are: his son, Kenneth Parker of Washington; step-daughter, Jennifer Stanley of Arizona; 4 grandchildren and 1 great-grandson. One brother, Gary Parker of Las Cruces; one sister, Carole Harber of Oklahoma; step-brothers: Edward Dittmer, of Tularosa; Chris Dittmer, of Davie, FL; step-sisters: Marianne Nichols of La Luz; Christine Seyl of Corona; Jacqueline Stratton of Kansasville, WI; and Carol Gums of Burlington, WI. Several nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.

The family wishes to extend a special thanks to the ER and ICU staffs of Gerald-Champion Regional Medical Center, Sierra Medical Center and Kindred Hospitals for their untiring care, the ambulance personnel, and to Kaster-Maxom & Futrell Funeral Home for their compassionate and extremely capable handling of final details.

Full Military Honors will be extended at the internment of his ashes, Friday, January 12, 2017 at 1:30 pm., at the Fort Stanton VA State Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions for a local memorial should be directed to Karen Parker at PO Box 1329, La Luz, NM 88337. Contributors names will be engraved upon a memorial placard.
Published in Alamogordo Daily News from Jan. 7 to Feb. 6, 2018
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