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Dr. Rich Parker, Professor Emeritus of Music, Dies

Published: Apr 21, 2014

Dr. Richard Parker

Taylor University Professor Emeritus of Music Dr. Richard Parker went to be with the Lord at 10:40 p.m., Thursday, April 17, 2014, at the IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital Emergency Department. He was 69.

Dr. Parker joined Taylor’s music faculty in 1974 as Professor of Music Education and served 36 years before retiring in 2010. He mentored many music education majors during his tenure and was responsible for many department and university initiatives including starting the Taylor Ringers Handbell Choir, development of the Music Computer Technology Lab, and the initiation of the Music and World Cultures Class including African Drumming and folk dancing.

He was a strong proponent for multicultural music on campus and many ethnic diversity projects. In 2000 he was recognized by the Indiana Music Educators Association as Outstanding University Educator.

Dr. Parker was born in Springfield, Ohio, and graduated from Springfield South High School in 1962. He graduated with his Bachelor’s Degree from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio in 1966. He received his Master’s Degree in 1968 and his Ph.D. in 1974 – both were from The Ohio State University.

He was a member of Grace United Methodist Church in Hartford City where he was the Music Director for over 30 years and started the Grace United Methodist Church Bell Choir. For the past two winters he attended River Ranch Chapel Church in River Ranch, Florida, where he was the Choir Director. Most recently he had attended Eden United Church of Christ where he had been playing in the Bell Choir. He also directed the Bell Choir at Taylor University and had taken several Mission Trips with the Taylor University Bell Choir.

Dr. Parker started the Blackford Community Choir and had been the Director for several years. He also was a member of Phi Mu Alpha, which is a fraternity for men in the musical profession. He was a member of the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers, where he held clinics for others to learn. Dr. Parker was also a judge for solo and ensemble contest.

Dr. Parker is survived by his wife of 46 years Sharon K. Parker of Hartford City; son, David M. (wife, Hollie) Parker; daughters, Kari L. (husband, Jeff) Anama; Amy M. (husband, Joel) Nichols; eight grandchildren; a brother, Loren (wife, Susan) Parker; and several nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life Service will be at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, April 23, 2014, at Grace United Methodist Church, 312 W. Washington St., Hartford City, Ind., with Rev. Lloyd Hall officiating. Entombment will follow in the Gardens of Memory Mausoleum in Muncie.

Visitation will be from 3:00 to 5:00 and 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 22, and from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, April 23, at Grace United Methodist Church.

Memorials may be made to the Taylor University Music Department Scholarship Fund. Online condolences may be sent online to the Keplinger Funeral Home.

Dr. Richard A. Parker 
Dec 19, 1944  -  Apr 17, 2014