A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, at Christ Church, for Chester Lee Herrod Parker, 69, who passed away on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, at Casa Maria Health Care Center surrounded by his loved ones.
Chester was born Oct. 2, 1943, in LaFollette, Tenn., to Sam [auth] and Juanita Parker Herrod. Chester was raised by his grandparents Robert Lee and Marie Parker, and also by Clifford Mundy and Chester’s mother Juanita Mundy, who all preceded him in death. Chester married Carol Ann Hillebrand on Dec. 4, 1965, in Allen Park, Mich. She survives him at the family home in Roswell.
Chester is also survived by his sons, Timothy Lee Parker and Robert Lee Parker; daughter Sissy Maroney and husband Judd; sisters, Linda Dokey and husband Ken, Cookie Osmak and husband Jim, and Matilda Spivey and husband David; daughter-in-law Katie Parker; grandchildren, Parker Maroney, Joshua Parker, Cash Maroney and Grace Ann Parker; nephews and nieces, Derek and wife Kelly, Jason and wife Stacy, Anndrea and husband Dan, Michael and wife Beth, and Adam and wife Holly; seven grandnephews and grandnieces; and his beloved canine companion Reagan.
Chester was raised in the Kentucky and Tennessee mountain regions, and one of his favorite memories was bacon piled high, biscuits and gravy, and his Granny’s cooking. He enjoyed fishing and walking in the mountains with his family during this time. He then moved to Michigan in his youth.
He graduated from Taylor Center High School in 1963 and attended Northern Michigan University, earning a degree in marketing and management.
He was involved with the heavy civil/highway/air-port construction industry in some aspect for more than 50 years and worked with numerous companies on projects on every continent except Antarctica. Chester lived or worked in 40 countries, and every state in the United States except five. From project superintendent/project manager positions in construction, to international construction equipment sales as Asia/ Pacific regional manager for CMI/Terex, to consulting, to helping associates with job placement, to random advice offering, to inventing devices to assist the mobility impaired, to his philanthropic work, Chester was known as a creative problem solver with a larger than life personality. In his early life he restored classic cars, participated in sanctioned drag racing events as a builder/racer, worked as a sheriff’s deputy for Wayne County, Mich., and was a member of the Machinists Union in Michigan.
He drew loyalty from every tier of society in the countries and organizations he was involved with. He was a shrewd international businessman, having developed deep relationships in most of the countries he visited. Weekly, Chester was on the phone with various friends around the world. Chester was also known to have a reputation that within 7 to 10 days of him leaving a country, some civil unrest or uprising would occur. This happened in at least six countries he worked in, leading close family and friends to believe his work was a little more than construction-related (although never proven). When in the states and especially in the later years, when Chester would meet an international person he always asked, “have you ever eaten at ‘this’ restaurant, it was a good one,” or “have you driven along the ‘that’ road? I built it.” In the years prior to his semi-retirement, Chester worked with longtime friends Bill Armstrong and Pat McGill at Armstrong Construction.
The family extends deep gratitude to the numerous family and friends who have stood “in the gap” over the past years in helping with dad. The family thanks the staff of Fresenius, ENMMC, Renal Associates and various physicians/staff. A special thank you to Casa Maria (and his “girls”) for making his remaining time on Earth comfortable and meaningful. Thank you to Ballard Funeral Home for taking care of the funeral arrangements.
The family asks in lieu of flowers/gifts, that donations be made in dad’s name to one of the two local outreaches he supported: Harvest Ministries, 601 N. Main, Roswell, NM 88201, or Johnny Gonzales Ministries, 1620 N. Montana, Roswell, NM 88201.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Ballard Funeral Home and Crematory. An online registry can be accessed at ballardfuneralhome.com.