Richard James Parker died at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital in the early afternoon of Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. His last hours were spent surrounded by family and friends.
Richard was born April 6, 1951, in Woodbury, N.J., the second son of Howard and Bernadette (Sloan) Parker. His twin brother beat him into the world.
Richard lived in the same house on Hazel Avenue in Westville, N.J., from birth until he graduated from Gloucester Catholic High School in 1969. From there his adventures took him to the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he earned his bachelor’s degree in drama.
Richard’s love of plays and his degree took him to theaters in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and finally to the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival in Cleveland, OH, where he worked as the business office manager.
After years of working the business side of the stage, Richard returned to Catholic University and earned his MFA and was immediately hired by Catholic as a professor and business office manager. He worked at CUA until his move to Hood River.
Richard had another side of his talent that complemented his work in the theater. He had an amazing voice and loved to share it.
In 1998, Richard moved to the Hood River Valley in Oregon. His work as an instructor of drama at Columbia Gorge Community College, and his volunteer work with CAST, Showcase Singers, St. Mary’s Choir, Theatre Company of The Dalles, Riverside Community Church Choir and so many other organizations quickly made him a part of the community.
Along with theater and music, Richard had a penchant for travel. He got great pleasure from his journeys. Along with covering much of the United States, he traveled to Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, Iceland, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Canada.
And let’s not forget his Saints: Claude and Hazel and Ralph and Trixie, who were dear and near to him. And there were some cats he was fond of, too: Spike and Max and Tillie and Tom.
Richard is survived by his partner, Mac Cornelison of Hood River, twin brother Howard (Marcia) of Harrisburg, Pa., brother Bob (Donald Burns), of San Diego, sister Marianne, of San Diego and a myriad of cousins in New Jersey (and other locales).
Services to mourn Richard’s passing and celebrate his life are planned for 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 1501 Belmont Ave., Hood River.
Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson’s Tribute Center (Funerals, Receptions, Cremations), 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River, OR 97031; 541-386-1000. Please visit andersonstributecenter.com to leave a note of condolence for family.
Condolences are being received online.
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