Robert Floyd Parker of Lake Wylie, S.C., formerly of Cambridge and Winthrop, Minn., passed away August 1, 2013 surrounded by his loving family.
Robert was born March 14, 1916 in Byron, Minn. Robert was the fourth child out of five born to Wilbert Parker and Florence Feastings Parker.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and his sister, Lucille; and his brothers, Howard, Lawrence, and Richard; and his beloved granddaughter, Sheilah Thomas. Robert is survived by his wife, Ruth; daughter, Helen Thomas and her husband Tom; son, Ronald Parker; and daughter Carol Forsythe and her husband Jerry. Robert also leaves behind his grandchildren; Sean Thomas and his wife Kristin; Kyle Thomas and his wife Kelli; Jennifer Forsythe; Jonathan Forsythe and his wife Amy; and Andrew Forsythe. Robert was blessed to have 10 great grandchildren; Courtney, Michael, Allison, Nicholas, Meghan, and Erin Thomas; Tristan Forsythe and Samuel Mcabee; and Alissa and Lily Forsythe. He adored his grandchildren and great grandchildren and was proud of all their accomplishments.
Robert met his wife, Ruth Brady while teaching in Campbell Lake, Minn. They were married June 29, 1940. They have been married 73 years and especially in these later years he was a truly loving and supportive spouse.
Robert graduated from Winona State and taught until World War II when he joined the Navy in September 1942. He operated in the American Theater, European African, and Asiatic Pacific. He was discharged from the Navy in December 1945, with a certificate of satisfactory service.
After serving in the Navy, Robert returned to education and while teaching he also went back to school and earned a Master’s Degree and also a Specialist Degree from the University of Minnesota. Robert served as a principal in the schools at Winthrop and Orono, Minn., and then went back to Winthrop as superintendent where he finished his career. He was a pioneer in services for special needs students. Holding many positions in Minnesota Region IV sports, he continued with this group even after his retirement. Robert’s administrative and personnel skills were widely known and highly regarded. He held several interim superintendent positions after retirement as well.
While living in Orono, Minn., he was part of a local singing group and performed in musicals such as “Old Man River” where his gorgeous baritone voice blessed many people through numerous solos. In Winthrop, Robert directed the church choir and continued singing in a men’s quartet
Robert was very active in the Kiwanis and spent time as Regional President. He and Ruth traveled widely with them. He was also Mason and a Shriner.
Robert and Ruth spent their retirement winters in Mesa, Ariz., where once again his skills became well known. He was “mayor” of Mesa Regal; a retirement park where they had their home for many years. He also enjoyed leading hymn sings on Sunday mornings for the Mesa Regal’s church service.
A committed Christian, Robert is celebrating with Jesus today. His example as a man who loved his family will be carried on by his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He will forever be in our hearts.