Thomas E. Parker celebrated life fully for 64 years with 30 of those years with his best friend, love of his life, and everything, Maryann (Cross); together they had two amazing children they are so very proud of, Rachel and Charles and their beautiful daughter-in-law, Leticia. He was a loving and devoted son to Eleanor and the late Russell, a caring and gracious son-in-law to Joyce and the late James Cross; a beloved brother, brother/in-law to Sharon and Ted Anderson, Carol and the late Mick Gavin, Julie and Chuck Dersarkissian as well as his in-laws, Tonwya and John Cross, Robert Cross, Patty and Mario Lanoue. He was a kind, warm hearted uncle to Jamie and Jessica Gavin and Rachelle and Jennifer Cross. Thomas loved people and was a friend you haven't met yet. He loved making friends and having a great time with them; loving them like brothers and sisters.
Born in Lockport, NY on May 9, 1953 to Russell and Eleanor, he was a resourceful, hard worker who grew up on the family dairy farm. He graduated from Newfane in 1971 and was a top cross-country and track runner. In 1973, he graduated from NCCC, running for them as well. He earned a BS from Buffalo State in 1976 and moved to New Orleans to teach industrial arts at John Martyn Technical HS from 1976-1978 while coaching several sports. He moved back to Lockport and from 1987-88 worked at Harrison Radiator as a tinsmith apprentice before getting a job at Lewiston-Porter teaching industrial arts again from 1980-82. In 1982, he left the teaching profession and worked for NYSEG in customer service for 10 years. He was an education coordinator, training specialist and tour director; which is how he met Maryann. They married in Warrens Corners United Methodist Church on July 18, 1987. He held dear this congregation. A year later they moved to Binghamton. Together they obtained MSEds from Binghamton University. During that time, he transitioned back to teaching and taught at Tioga for two years. In 1992, he relocated to Lockport to teach special education and coached cross-country, track, modified basketball and volleyball at Lewiston-Porter for 20 years, retiring in 2013. He loved teaching, coaching and his beloved Lew-Port family. He was involved in the teachers union at the local and state level and served on the Board of Directors for ED 3. Over the course of his career he received numerous awards and certificates as a public speaker, teacher, coach, and unionist.
Living life fully, he loved running 5K and 10K races with Team Parker, peaceful morning deer hunting, rides in his Corvette, his garden and delicious produce, good food, Arnaud's, coffee with friends, Artpark concerts, trips to England, his cats and a good bourbon. Most of all, he loved his beloved New Orleans; the Big Easy and the Saints. For many years, Thomas went back to several Mardi Gras, even driving tractors in the parades. He took his family many times and together decided to make it their second home where they had an additional extended family with all their beloved New Orleans friends. He planned his lifelong dream of having a second line parade through the streets of the French Quarter for Charles and Leticias wedding celebration. He was very talented in many areas, and especially skilled at construction and repurposing; bringing new life to items and homes to enjoy renewal. Together, with Maryann, they built their house in Lockport and refinished other houses.
He was simply an amazing, strong, dedicated man of great character and strong morals, who had the will to face any challenge, including cancer. 2017 was his summer of love, celebrating with so many cherished loved ones; his crescendo. Now there is only a final note to hang in the air for you. Our saint has come marching in, so toast to his life and the music you were a part of. There is more space in our togetherness and the winds of heaven will dance between us in silent whispers until we are together again.
Thomas wanted a celebration of his life while he could enjoy it with others and deeply thanks you all for being part of his song. In lieu of a memorial service, the family and Thomas request that you donate to your favorite charity and take a moment to tell someone in your life how much they mean to you, be grateful, be kind, be helpful, be love.
Published on December 23, 2017