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Q: Why did you join Lambda Iota in the first place?

A: I was impressed with the seniors I saw through my Navy ROTC.  Joe Showalter ’56 was Battalion Commander and Gene Cernan ’56 was the Executive Officer.  I had several Fijis in my Navy classes, and they seemed like sharp guys.  I became friends with some of them, but in the end I had to tell them, “I would like to rush at your house.”  They immediately welcomed me, and the rest is history.

Q: What’s your favorite memory from the chapter?

A: Riding up the hill from Lafayette with my date in the rumble seat of Dick Marshall’s Ford Model A Roadster, the clutch went out. The car slowed and started rolling backward down the hill.  Dick and I had to walk our dates home, but it was a great adventure!

Q: Do you still keep in touch with any of your brothers? Who?

A: Our class has reunions from time to time.  The 50th in 2009 was the last one.  Facebook and exchange of e-mails helps keep in touch.  Jerry Weisenauer, Jack Coffin, Perry Wilkins, Jerry Kimball, Jim Stukel and John Wallace are a few.

You can check in with Parker on LinkedIn.

Q: Tell us about your career.

A: Commissioned an Ensign in the Navy, I began on an attack transport in San Diego.  I learned that they had changed the rules so an officer could go directly to submarine school and then apply for nuclear power school.  I took that route and served on USS Nautilus (SSN 571), the first nuclear submarine from ’62 to ’66.  I left active duty to be a development engineer at the Atomic Energy Commission’s Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant in Tennessee.  I had a 38-year career there, serving also as an Engineering Project Engineer and Project Manager. I also stayed in the inactive-duty Naval Reserve and retired as a Captain after 30 years’ service.

Q: How did your time in Fiji help to prepare you for that role?

A: It helped me mature.  It encouraged me to become involved in my community and it began my development as a leader.  I left campus with my degree, but also good self-confidence for the future.

Parker preaching in Africa, 2011

Q: Tell us about your family and hobbies.

A: I met my wife, Betsy, while in submarine school.  We have been married 53 years and have four grown children and right grandchildren.

I have been a Christian all my life.  In 1997, I began a series of short-term overseas missions of preaching, teaching and church planting.  When I retired from my civilian career in 2004, the missions became more frequent.  They have covered five continents and continue today, the most recent being two weeks in Pakistan in March-April this year.  My book, It All Makes Sense, is published by Westbow Press and is available here.   

Q: What advice would you give to future members of Lambda Iota members?

A: Be a man of integrity.


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