Donald Parker, age 87, of Malcom, died on Saturday, February 04, 2017, at Grinnell Regional Medical Center.
A celebration of his life will be held 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, February 8th at the Sheridan United Methodist Church north of Grinnell with Rev. Len Garrison officiating. Pianist will be his daughter, Peggy Parker. Pallbearers will be Mark Allen, Brian Graham, John Kiwala, Bill and Daniel Orlano and Al Price. Honorary bearers will be Keith Barkley, Ken Conner, Clif Schultz, Thomas Tuck and Bob Weitzell. Interment with military honors will follow the service at Sheridan Cemetery.
Visitation will begin at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday at the Smith Funeral Home in Grinnell and his family will greet friends from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.
Memorials may be designated to the Sheridan United Methodist Church and mailed in care of the Smith Funeral Home, PO Box 368, Grinnell, Iowa 50112. Condolences may be shared with his family online at www.smithfh.com.
Donald Louis Parker was born on June 3, 1929 in Oskaloosa, Iowa to William and Melvia Warstler Parker. He was raised in Searsboro and later Grinnell and graduated from Grinnell High School with the class of 1946.
He proudly served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War as a gunner on B-36 bombers at Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, TX. He was honorably discharged in 1954 and returned to Iowa and attended Iowa State University. He enjoyed attending B-36 reunions and traveled throughout the country to visit fellow members of his crew. In 2014, Don was accompanied by his son-in-law, Mark Burkhead and traveled as part of the Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.
On September 11, 1966, he was united in marriage to Frances Ann Vavra at Sheridan United Methodist Church. The couple resided in Sheridan Township where they farmed until his retirement in 1992. Don continued to work for Grinnell College and Morgan Transport. The farmer in him still continued and he produced and sold watermelons, cantaloupe, popcorn and sweet corn.
Don was a life-long member of Sheridan United Methodist Church where he was a lay speaker and led children's messages during services. He enjoyed meeting new people and later in life building things with Legos. He was an avid Iowa State Cyclones and New York Yankees fan.
Don is survived by his wife of 50 years, Frances Parker of Malcom; two daughters, Jody (David) Beck of Davenport and Peggy Parker (Mark Burkhead) of Grinnell and five grandchildren, Parker and Peyton Beck and Will, Foster and Ruthie Burkhead. He was preceded in death by his parents; two sisters, Ruth Gross and Doris Chute; and one brother, Billy Parker.