Samuel Darby Parker Sr.
August 17, 1925 – February 13, 2020
Samuel D. Parker Sr., 94, of Austin, Texas (formerly of Houston, Texas), passed away peacefully on February 12, 2020. Sam was the youngest of three children born to John Parker and Anna Darby on August 17, 1925, in Williamsburg, Pennsylvania. Sam was preceded in death by his parents, John and Anna Parker; his oldest brother, lieutenant Colonial John (Jack) Francis Parker, (ret- Army) of Wilmington, Delaware; and older sister, Gloria (Glo) Parker Harrington of Captain’s Hill, Maryland. At the age of 8, Sam move to Spring Lake, New Jersey, to live with his Uncle Ernest and Aunt Kay (his mother’s sister) in order to have a better way of life and attend New York’s prestigious St. Thomas Episcopal Boys School in New York City. Sam obtained a financial scholarship for his “Bell-Like Tenor Voice” to attend this prestigious school and sing in the St. Thomas Episcopal Boys Choir. The choir was known throughout the East Coast and predominately to New York Elites and Musical Societies in and around New York City. The St. Thomas Episcopal Choir regularly performed for Presidents (FDR in Hyde Park), Governors, Mayors and other New York Elites. Sam had a beautiful first tenor voice and was usually selected 1st as the performing soloist by Choirmaster, Organist and Composer- T. Tertious Noble. Dr. Noble is best known for his organ arrangement of “O Holy Night” which is still performed today on Christmas Day. This organ composition was first sung by Sam for the St. Thomas Episcopal Church Christmas Eve Service in 1933. The Governor of New York and members of the Columbia Music Company attended this Christmas service. After performing Dr. Noble’s rendition of “O Holy Night,” Sam was approached by two agents with Columbia to go under contract. Since Sam was only 13 and not of age, his mother would not sign the contract due to his youth and the rigorous schedule that he would have to endure while under Columbia’s agreement.
Upon his graduation from St Thomas Episcopal Boys School at the age of 14, Sam moved to Spring Lake, New Jersey, to attend and graduate from neighboring Manasquan High School in Manasquan, New Jersey, in 1939. He graduated from the University of Indiana with a degree in business and spent the majority of this career in the steel business like so many others from that part of the country. Early in his career as a steel executive, Sam met and married Carmel "Candy" Biordi, who passed away in 2008. They were married for 37 years and had two boys, Samuel D. Parker Jr. and John T. Parker.
Work brought Sam and his family to Houston, Texas, in 1965, just months before the arrival of Hurricane Carla, and despite the wet welcome, he quickly adopted Texas has his home state. Anyone who knew Sam would tell you he was a Texan through and through, something that gave him a great sense of pride. After retirement at age 75, Sam moved to Richmond, Texas, and then eventually moving to Austin to be closer to his family. Sam was an avid reader and had a love of old west history and World War II. He loved his Texas A&M football, his Los Angeles Dodgers, his trips to the coast and Spanish guitar music. Sam especially loved his sons, their families and his beloved grandchildren. Sam spend his last 9 years at Brookdale Retirement Community in Austin where he was probably best known for his "tell it like it is" unfiltered style. The people that really knew him liked him for that reason and everyone knew there would never be a dull moment when Sam was in the house.
Sam was survived by his son Samuel D. Parker Jr. and his wife Shelley H. Parker of Austin; his son John T. Parker of Houston; and his grandchildren, Darby Grace Parker(13), Samuel Hudson Parker (11), and Josh Steven Brown (24).
A viewing will be held on Wednesday, February 19, in the evening from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. with a prayer service to begin at 7pm at Cook-Walden/Forest Oaks Funeral Home at 6300 W. William Cannon Dr. in Austin, Texas. A farewell reception will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday at Brookdale Westlake Hills at 1034 Liberty Park Drive in Austin.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Heart Association of Austin.
- American Heart Association of Austin
- Visitation Wednesday, February 19, 2020
- Rosary Service Wednesday, February 19, 2020
- Celebration of Life Thursday, February 20, 2020