Harold “Lee” Parker, age 94, passed away peacefully on Tuesday morning, June 30, 2020 at Greenwood Village South Senior Living Community. He was a resident of Greenwood and a former 42-year resident of Morgantown.
Lee was born February 17, 1926 to Otto S. and Mary Florine (Hinchman) Parker. His only sibling, Ronald S. Parker, was born November 25, 1927 and died August 4, 2010. His mother died when he was 6 and he lived with his paternal grandparents, James P. and Abbie (Stuart) Parker in Morgantown.
His grandfather raised Llewellin Setters and Lee learned to work at an early age by taking care of and training these dogs. He helped put food on the table during the depression by hunting rabbits and quail with these dogs. Lee and Ronald also hunted squirrel and fished in Long Run Creek and the family often shared with others in the community who needed help.
Lee graduated from Morgantown High School in April of 1944. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corp on his 18th birthday in February, but was encouraged to finish high school before leaving for training. He went on to serve as a Corporal with Squadron A 238th of the Army Air Force during World War II. He loved flying and one of his favorite stories is bailing out of and abandoning a B29 on a training mission over Minnesota.
After the Army, he attended Tri State College in Angola, with the help of the GI Bill and many various part time jobs. He graduated with a degree in Engineering in 1953 and soon began working for the Allisons Division of GMC, mostly developing and testing aircraft engines.
Lee met Helen Clayton in the summer of 1958 and they were married August 15, 1959. In July of 1960, he transferred to AC Sparkplug Division of GMC in Milwaukee, WI. His first son, Paul Michael was born there in 1961. AC loaned Lee to AC in Boston, MA for a year where he worked at MIT on the Appollo Project.
After returning to Milwaukee, he decided it was time to pursue his lifelong dream of owning forty acres. He asked for a transfer book to Allison’s and began searching for land in Morgan County. He was fortunate to find acreage in Morgantown where he had hunted as a boy. He and his wife built a house, garage/workshop and barn, had a second son Mark Andrew in 1969 and lived there for forty-two years, growing much of their own food and raising registered shorthorn cattle.
In 1991, after 30 years of service as a Design Engineer, Lee retired from Allisons. Lee continued to stay busy by working at ASCS in Martinsville, surveying with Jim Vinton, working maintenance with NHJ School Corp and finally retiring at age 66 as an engineer with the Indiana State Department of Natural Resources.
After his second retirement, he became interested in growing and crafting gourds.
Lee became a charter member and former President of the Gourd Society. Together, Lee and his wife, raised and sold thousands of gourds and attended numerous Gourd Shows from Florida to Missouri. Other memberships include: the Morgantown United Methodist Church, where he formerly served on the Administrative Board, Parsonage Board and was a past Sunday School Teacher, and a former member of the Morgantown Boy Scouts, Morgantown Lions Club, NRA and a 50-year member of the Morgantown Masonic Lodge.
In 2007, he decided to sell his beloved farm and he and his wife moved to Greenwood Village Retirement Center where she still resides. His son, Paul, still lives near Morgantown and Mark lives in Aurora, Colorado with his wife, Danielle, and their sons, Tyler Andrew, Zachary Lee and Jake Ryan.
Lee enjoyed woodworking and making things, such as a tote box to carry tools to the barn or fence row, a storage/carrying case for the chain saw, screens to dry gourd seeds and dividers for his desk drawer so he could organize it the way he wanted. He never saw anything he couldn’t fix or improve. He probably tore down and rebuild every car and truck he and his sons owned.
He loved catching and eating fish and a delight of the “Forty Acres” was a gully near the house that he had deemed to make a farm pond. He loved sharing and had many outdoor parties for friends and co-workers including pig roasts. Helen’s family was invited for a family reunion which became an annual affair and turned into a 3-day event filled with visiting, fishing and eating the catch.
The Rev. Ben Swopes will conduct a funeral service at 12 p.m. on Friday at Meredith-Clark Funeral Home Cremation & Personalization Center, 179 E. Mulberry Street in Morgantown. Friends may call from 10 a.m. until service time on Friday at the funeral home. Burial will be at East Hill Cemetery with military rites presented by the Martinsville American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Honor Guards, along with the United States Army.
Memorial contributions may be sent in honor of Lee to the Indiana Masonic Home “Memorial Fund”: 690 State Street, Franklin, Indiana 46131
Condolences may be made to the Parker family at www.meredith-clark.com.
Information: (812) 597-4670
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