MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

October 15, 2012

Willard Giddings Parker

1914 - 2012


— Willard Giddings Parker was born on March 30, 1914, east of Porter, in Wagoner County, Oklahoma from the union of Wheeler Henry and Alberta Giddings Parker. The family included three sisters, Odessa, Norene and Wheeler Mae along with a brother, John.

In 1925, he was united in Church membership at Mount Bethel Baptist Church in Porter. Better known as W. G., his parents were farmers and the highest school grade available to him in the county was the eighth grade. In 1929, at the age of fifteen, he traveled to Langston, Oklahoma, where he finished high school. After high school, he enrolled at Langston University and played basketball and football, which enabled him to remain in college. He graduated in 1937 with a major in agriculture and that fall was hired as agriculture teacher in Perry, Oklahoma.

In October of 1938, he married Opal Jean Moore, also a Langston graduate. This union was blessed with two daughters, Beverly and Gloria.

After completing seven years of service in the Perry school system, he accepted a teaching position in Boynton, Oklahoma. He was recruited one year later to become the agriculture teacher at Manual Training High School in Muskogee, where he taught from 1945 until integration, when he transferred to Muskogee High School. Mr. Parker retired in 1977 after dedicating 32 years of helping Oklahoma youth and their families.

During his tenure in Muskogee, W. G. organized the Manual Training's first student council, and served as advisor for many, many years. As the agriculture teacher, he was advisor to the Muskogee Chapter of New Farmers of America [NFA], a national organization whose purpose was “to practice brotherhood, honor agricultural opportunities and responsibilities, and to develop those qualities of leadership that every NFA member should possess.”

In 1956, as basketball coach at Manual Training, he broke the racial barrier when he scheduled the Muskogee American Legion team, an all-white team, to play his team. He always encouraged his students to keep pushing to do better. A substantial number of his students completed degrees from colleges and universities across the country and went on to gain greater success and outstanding achievements. W.G. was always ready with some witty humor to encourage straight-up “dialogue.” A favorite he would say was “Don't start no stuff.”

W.G. received a plethora of citations, commendations and awards during his long career. Most prominently, in 1998, he was the recipient of the H.O. Sergeant Award, the highest award given by the national arm of the Future Farmers of America for outstanding work with youth in the field of vocational agriculture. On October 14, 2011, he was inducted into the New Farmers of America [NFA] Advisors Hall of Fame in the inaugural ceremony at Langston, Oklahoma.

Mr. Parker was a Deacon of First Missionary Baptist Church for over 60 years and a life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. He continued to reside at his home in Muskogee until “his final call from above” on October 8, 2012. His wife, Opal, his parents, sisters and brother preceded him in death.

He leaves in God's care to cherish his precious memory; his daughters, Beverly Young, San Diego, California and Gloria Parker, Muskogee, Oklahoma; his granddaughter, Kimberly Ragsdale, Porter, Oklahoma; and a host of loving relatives, extended family, students and friends.

The Hour of Remembrance for Mr. Parker will commence on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 11:00 A.M. in the sanctuary of the First Missionary Baptist Church. His Pastor, Reverend C. Maurice Baccus will officiate. Burial will follow in the Booker T. Washington Cemetery in Muskogee.

You may visit Mr. Parker, as he slumbers in peaceful repose at the Keith D. Biglow Funeral Directors, Inc., on Monday, October 15, 2012 from 12 Noon to 6 PM. The Brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi will hold their Memorial Ceremony in the Chapel of Remembrance at the funeral home beginning at 5:00 P.M. and the public is welcome to be present.

Friends may convey condolences and sign the online register at www.

biglowfunerals.com.

comfort, care and understanding