Pamela Corpron PARKER (1959 - 2016)

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    - Dianne Dugaw
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July 18, 1959 -
August 2, 2016

Pamela Corpron Parker left this world peacefully on August 2, 2016. Only 58, her circle of influence reached across the US and into the UK and Asia as a teacher, scholar, mentor and beloved wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend.

As a scholar, Pam influenced a generation of researchers around the country by co-founding the British Women Writers Association in 1991. Her commitment to feminist literary criticism fueled her writing and teaching on topics related to women, Victorian literature, and Christian faith. She called herself an "inspired generalist" who gave Whitworth University many original courses across a range of fields while tirelessly promoting Women's and Gender Studies and the Lily Fellows program in Valparaiso, Indiana. Living in Thailand until age 8, she also loved leading students into international travel experiences. In deep appreciation, Whitworth University Trustees recently honored her as a Professor Emeritus.

She dearly loved old manuscripts in musty foreign libraries, but she also loved the outdoors, especially camping and hiking with family and friends. Her devotion to her students, colleagues, and Whitworth community--plus her untimely passing--has meant many writing and teaching projects are left undone. However, the project with her Dad exploring "missionary letters from the field" remains ongoing.

Her masterwork was her garden, the many-tiered, artfully arranged, vegetable and flower garden down her sloping backyard that overlooks the university she served. Pam was committed to a beautiful yard that blessed everyone who walked into what she called her "Garden of Weedin'." Her verbal skills were seen in her "commentary" on the overnight destruction of a plant by a deer.

Though an excellent teacher and recognized scholar, her true gift was for mentorship. Generations of students, junior colleagues, and even some older ones have sipped her tea, baked in her kitchen, sent her cards from abroad, and received advice--some of it unrequested--about careers, family, God, and love. She was encouraging, and would inspire confidence. She was exacting, and could make students cry. She could give deeply of herself, and could be exhausted by "yet another" request to meet outside of class.

Her husband Rob, sons Danny and Luke, daughter Alma and soon to be daughter-in-law Amanda, and large extended family miss the Pam that had a hard time keeping a tidy house and full social calendar. She filled the sink with dishes when the dishwasher was empty, left tools around the garden, loved to argue and arrived late to everything. She was a passionate feminist and creative homemaker. She could begin English department meetings with a warm prayer and end them with a burst of profanity. Her gift was that in spite of her foibles she would reach out and make a transformative difference in the lives of the people around her. Our Pam will be remembered and deeply missed.

A memorial will be held August 25, 2016 at 3 p.m. at the Whitworth University Chapel.

In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made to the Pamela Parker Memorial scholarship fund at Whitworth University.

Published in Spokesman-Review on Aug. 11, 2016
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