Dick was born April 27, 1941 in Chicago, Illinois to Russell and Myra Parker. He graduated from Maine Township High School in Park Ridge, Illinois in 1959. In 1963, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in botany and bacteriology from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in forestry from the University of Michigan in 1966.
On April 19, 1969 Dick married Phyllis Hebel of Twin Lakes, Minnesota. During their married life they moved 11 times finally retiring to Grand Marais, in 2001 after Dick retired from Color Spot Nurseries as Chief Executive Officer.
Dick became very active in volunteering in Grand Marais teaching Department of Natural Resources (DNR) classes (firearms safety, ATV safety, snowmobile safety), Cook County Snowmobile Club, Maple Hill Volunteer Fire Department, Cook County Firewise Committee, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (secchi testing), Flintlock Range, Ham Run Half Marathon, Beargrease Dogsled Race, Gunflint Mail Run Dogsled Race, Mush For A Cure Dogsled Race, Arrowhead Coalition for Multiple Use, ATV Club, Cook County Sprinkler Committee, Cook County Wildfire Plan Committee, Grand Marais Lions Club and Bethlehem Lutheran Church (past treasurer).
He received numerous awards from the Grand Marais community: Cook County Citizen of the Year in 2009, Dolly Johnson Emergency Services Award, ATV instructor of the year for the State of Minnesota in 2009, the Maple Hill Community Fire Department dedicated their Devil Track Hall to Richard, the Grand Marais Snowmobile Club dedicated their maintenance building to Richard, and a new award – The Dick Parker Outstanding Volunteer Award – was created in 2016 to recognize outstanding volunteers of the Gunflint Mail Run Dogsled Race.
Although he appreciated all of the many awards, his preference was always to work in the background without recognition. As his health deteriorated, he greatly missed doing what he enjoyed most, volunteering.
Dick is survived by his wife Phyllis; daughters Angela (Matt) Deeths of Grand Junction, Colorado and Jenny (Matt) Graser of Pace, Florida as well as four grandchildren: Megan, Will, Abby and Miranda. He is also survived by his brother Theodore Parker of Sacramento, California and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father Russell Parker in 1972, his mother Myra McKigney in 1993, his granddaughter Allison Graser in 2004, and his sister Arleen VanSchoick in 2013.
A memorial service will be Saturday, March 5, 2016 (1:00 p.m.) at Bethlehem Lutheran Church (417 1st Ave. W., Grand Marais) with Pastor Mark Ditmanson officiating. Burial will be at Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis at a later date.
Richard will be truly missed, but never forgotten, by everyone who knew him.
In lieu of flowers, Dick preferred donations to either Bethlehem Lutheran Church (general fund) or to the Maple Hill Community Fire Department.
To sign the online register book please visit www.cavallinfuneralhome.com.