Howard Winn Parker (1925 - 2016)

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  • "Thinking of you today... Happy Birthday Howard-- you are..."
    - Lisa Blonkvist
  • "We love being next door neighbors with Howard and Jane in..."
    - The Nixons
  • "What a wonderful and dear man! I will always remember the..."
    - Lorrie DeAngelis
  • "Jane and family, I am thinking about you. I always enjoyed..."
    - Judy Murff
  • "Howard was a gentleman, a scholar and had a very dry sense..."
    - Jackie Mcgehee
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May 21, 2016 Howard Winn Parker, a pioneer in the Texas oil field and a proud veteran of World War II, passed away on May 21, 216. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 26, 2016 at University Christian Church, 2007 University Ave., Austin, TX 78705. For over 65 years, Howard Parker rode the ups and downs of the oil and gas industry-many of them with his business partner, the late Joe Parsley, at his side. As co-founder of Parker & Parsley (so named after a coin flip between the two men), Howard served as the company's chief executive officer until 1984 when the company - one of the nation's premier independent oil and gas operators - was sold, ostensibly so Howard could retire to Austin. He watched as his firm grew into Pioneer Natural Resources following the 1997 merger with Mesa Inc. Pioneer is now the nation's third largest independent oil and gas operator. But oil field executives don't ever really retire. Howard continued to participate in the development of the Permian Basin in West Texas through equity funding of various company startups and oil and gas ventures, including Parsley Energy, Inc. As a working interest owner, he also continued to participate in the development of oil and gas reserves with local companies such as Pioneer and RK Petroleum. Born in Blackwell, Oklahoma on June 20, 1925, Howard graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology in 1949-with a time out for World War II. In 1943, Howard joined the United States Army Air Corps, stationed in England, and served as a navigator on a B17 with the 306th Bombardment Group. He completed 182.05 hours of Combat Flying, completing 22 missions, 20 of those over Germany. Howard remained active in the reserves for 30 years, rising to the rank of Major. Upon returning to UT Austin to complete his studies, Howard met Jane Switzer whom he married in 1950-the same year he joined Gulf Oil in Midland where he worked as a geologist until 1960. In 1962, Howard Parker and Joe Parsley, a former reservoir engineer with Marathon Oil Company, met through their wives and formed a partnership with a handshake between the two men, assembled acreage blocks and identified drilling locations to sell to large independents. By 1972, they began to attract the interest of private investors, many of whom participated in Parker & Parsley's Joint Ventures over the next 10 years. By taking a risk to leave careers with major oil companies and focus on the Spraberry, then considered the most uneconomical field in the world, Parker and Parsley created a tremendous legacy and changed the fate of the Spraberry, now considered the largest oil field in North America. In January of 2015, the two men were recognized with the Top Hand Award from the Permian Basin Petroleum Association and in April of 2015, the two men, who remained close friends for the remainder of their lives, were inducted in the Petroleum Hall of Fame at the The Permian Basin Petroleum Museum in Midland, Texas. While residents of Midland, the Parkers served on several charitable boards and were active in the development and financial support of numerous organizations, including the Midland-Odessa Symphony Guild, The Musicians Club of Midland, and Midland Memorial Hospital. An enthusiastic University of Texas at Austin alum, Howard was a member of the Longhorn Foundation member and the UT President's Council. He was also a member of the Austin Knights of the Symphony, the Heritage Society of Austin, and a sponsor of "Bravo Vail," a month-long event in Vail Colorado, featuring the Dallas, Philadelphia, and New York Philharmonic symphony orchestras. Howard Parker is survived by his wife, Jane Switzer Parker of Austin; daughter, Frances Parker Little, her husband, Gary P. Little of Austin, and their children (grandchildren), Parker Logan Little and Ellie Little; son, Richard S. Parker of Santa Fe, New Mexico and his children (grandchildren), Elvis Parker and Alex Parker; and son, Howard Winn Parker, Jr., his wife, Sandra Watson Parker of Dallas, and their children (grandchildren) Watson Parker, Abby Parker, Kate Parker Woodham and her husband, Dr. Ryan Woodham and their children (great-grandchildren), James Parker Woodham and Natalie Jane Woodham. Also surviving are nieces, Cindy Parker, Susan Parker Montalvo, and Dr. Elizabeth Jo Parker; and nephew, Dr. James Parker, III. Howard was preceded in death by his father, James Parker; mother, Audell Winn Parker; brother, James Parker, Jr. and his wife, Dottie Parker; niece, Nancy Jean Parker; and nephew, David Shaw Parker. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: The Settlement Home Austin Symphony Austin Lyric Opera Obituary and memorial guestbook available online at Arrangements by Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home - (512) 452-8811.
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Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Homes & Cremation Services - Austin
3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 452-8811
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Published in Midland Reporter-Telegram on May 24, 2016
bullet U.S. Army bullet University of Texas bullet World War II
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