Hon. John S. Parker, 81, Lowville

LOWVILLE, NY — In the early morning hours of January 11, 2019, the Honorable John Strickland Parker departed this world, to join and await his most precious loved ones in the next. His faith was strong. In the hours before his death, he expressed enthusiasm at the prospect of being reunited with his mother. His death was cardiac-related. He was 81.

A native and lifelong resident of Lowville, New York, his youth was marked by a strong interest in family, sports, and social relationships. He made athletic endeavors look easy, a talent that followed him through his adult life. He was a three-sport athlete in high school before becoming a successful Division 1 collegiate alpine ski racer. Later, he was asked to fulfill his Army ROTC obligation simply by ski racing at various western ski areas. Neat trick. Good skier.

Judge Parker’s education led him from Lowville Academy and Central School to St. Lawrence University, and then to Albany Law. After a brief period practicing in Syracuse, he moved back to Lowville and formed a law practice with his friend and partner, Richard Cummings. They complemented each other well, and Cummings & Parker became a staple of the North Country legal community. John prided himself on arriving at the office first so he could shovel the sidewalk.

In 1980, he was elected Lewis County Court judge, and in 1988, he was elected to the New York State Supreme Court. He would spend the remainder of his career on the bench. He developed a reputation as a fair, hard-working, and objective justice, respected by his peers and colleagues.

In addition to his legal career, Judge Parker found time to serve as president of the Lowville Academy and Central School Board of Education, and, in his later years, was a dedicated member and President of the Constable Hall Association.

In 1960, he married his high school sweetheart, Suzie. They had one son, John Frederick, in 1966. Their marriage was marked by many family activities with his family and her younger siblings, whom he loved and cared for as his own. At the time of his death, a Swiss flag keychain still hung from his car key, a reminder of those years. Their marriage lasted nearly 35 years, and ended in divorce.

In 1997, he was married to his current wife, Patricia, and they shared a long marriage filled with laughter, love, and gently-blended family. They golfed together, they traveled together, they skied together. They did almost everything together. They were involved in the lives of both of their families, which was a great joy and comfort for them. They invested deeply in their bond, and they enjoyed their home on Crystal Lake, his favorite place, of which he was a uniquely good lifelong steward. The garage at Crystal Lake will always be His Place. They also enjoyed the cooler months at a second home in Waynesville, North Carolina.

Throughout his life, skiing and golf were among his highest priorities, and he excelled at both. As a golfer, he had a hole in one at Carlowden Golf Course, and was able to shoot his age.  And nobody turned a ski better. He leaves behind innumerable family members and friends who delighted in chasing him on skis. Wintry Sunday mornings were for Straight Lessons at Snow Ridge.

His Honor always knew how to have fun, and he knew that it was important. His entire extended family remembers that with immeasurable fondness.

John was predeceased by his beloved parents, Margaret S. and Frederick B. Parker, but leaves behind his older brother, Fritz.  For 81 years, Fritz has been John’s closest and most beloved friend. They were together in John’s first days of life, and his last, and as many days as possible in between. They remain each other’s most loyal champion. No brother could have a better brother.

But his most cherished people were his grandchildren, Matt and Meg Parker, and his step-grandchildren, Emma and Sarah Clarke. He followed their activities with immense pride and joy.

Special mention must be made of John’s deep appreciation of the many skilled physicians and surgeons who tended to his medical issues. There are too many to list, but he especially cherished his friendships with Dr. Ray Carlson and Dr. Larry Semel. His family echoes strongly his deep appreciation for the extra years that their talents brought him. They kept his heart running well, way past its warranty period.

John is survived by his loving wife, Patricia A. Parker; his son and daughter-in-law, Dr. John F. Parker and Sheila R. Parker; two grandchildren, Matthew F. Parker and Margaret A. Parker; his brother and sister-in-law, Dr. Frederick B. Parker Jr. and Virginia B. Parker; his niece, Amy M. Parker; niece and nephew, Matthew B. Parker and Ying Z. Parker, and their children Kyler and Sophie; and his stepchildren Brian D. Carpenter and John Gordon, and Carol C. and Jay Clarke and their children Emma and Sarah Clarke; and granddogs Sadie and Lola, Ollie, and Rosie.

Calling hours will be held 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, at the Sundquist Funeral Home in Lowville, NY.  A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, January 20, 2019, at the First Presbyterian Church in Lowville, NY.

In lieu of flowers, John’s family asks that you make a donation to one or more of the following: Constable Hall Association, 5909 John Street, Constableville, NY 13325; First Presbyterian Church, 7707 N. State Street, Lowville, NY 13367; or Operation Walk New York 5824 Widewaters Parkway E. Syracuse, NY 13057

An online message of condolence may be made at www.sundquistfh.com