Thomas William Parker died in Moscow, Idaho on January 19, 2020 with family at his side.
Thom was born February 1, 1948 in Washington DC to Dr. George and Dorothy Parker. His father was a pediatrician and his mother a nurse. He was the second child of nine—seven brothers and one long anticipated sister, Jane—and spent his childhood growing up and getting into trouble in Indianapolis, Indiana. He attended Scecina Memorial High School, where he kept busy playing football, basketball, and running track, and graduated in 1966.
He attended college at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, studying economics. The high point of his college years, and one of his favorite experiences in life, was attending a study abroad program in Rome, Italy for his junior year from 1968-69. From there he and his friends (including lifelong best friend Jack Monsour) traveled the world, visiting all of Europe, Turkey, Egypt, and beyond, having grand adventures that he would tell his children about for the rest of his life.
He returned to Indiana with the travel bug and started exploring the rest of the US, ultimately landing in Rumney, New Hampshire, where he met Renny, his wife. In the late 1970’s they packed their belongings into Thom’s Chevy pickup with a canoe on top and headed for Montana to find a new home. They canoed the rivers there but found themselves exploring into Idaho where they discovered Elk City, which became Thom’s favorite place. They built a log cabin and a rich life surrounded by friends who were living the same dream. Thom’s years were filled exploring the Idaho mountains on foot and skis, hunting, fishing, and poker games.
He worked for the Elk City school as the bus driver, maintenance and morning announcement man, and “get things done” guy. In 1984 they had daughter Bryn Elise and in 1987 daughter Caitlin Rose, which Thom remembered as the “happiest two days of my life.” Bryn and Caitlin grew up with the best dad in the world, with constant adventures in the meadows and woods around Elk City. He taught them how to have open minds, be critical thinkers, and love the outdoors. Thom and Renny were divorced in 2006. After retirement from the school, he could be found sitting in his wide expanse of a driveway, overlooking the surrounding mountains, creating wooden art or in his hammock in the shade.
As Thom’s girls grew to have lives of their own, he joined them on their adventures, from Seattle to Maui to Alaska. Thom was thrilled when Bryn moved back to Moscow, Idaho and had his granddaughters, Ellie and Anya. He started spending the winters in Moscow (which people laughed about, but winters there were a big improvement over Elk City), where he was a fixture in his granddaughters’ lives. He picked Ellie up from school every day, taking her on adventures to the park and to Tristate to get popcorn, and taught her to do the wrestling moves like “The Atom Smasher.” He and Anya, the baby, mostly just cuddled. He was an exceptional Pop.
Thom is survived by his mother, Dorothy, siblings Geep (Sue), John (Carol), Chris (Susan), Ted (Patty), Mike (Jane), Jane (Greg), and Dave (Beth), multiple nieces and nephews, daughter Caitlin, and daughter Bryn (Eric) and grandchildren Ellie Rose and Anya Louise.
A memorial service will be held in late July in Elk City, Idaho. In lieu of flowers or gifts, please consider giving a memorial donation to the Latah Recovery Center, (531 S. Main St.) or the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre (508 S. Main) in Moscow, Idaho 83843.
Arrangements were entrusted to Short’s Funeral Chapel, Moscow, and online condolences may be sent to www.shortsfuneralchapel.com.
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