February 13, 1924 – February 25, 2010
Eddie Parker was born Rufus Edward Parker in Birmingham, AL February 13, 1924. He passed away February 25, 2010 in Dallas, TX. He studied architecture at Auburn University and in December 1941 left just months before graduating to join the Army as an aviation cadet. He married Wynelle Blythe in 1945, moved to Dallas and joined his father's import and mfg rep business. He later opened his own company, Eddie Parker Sales, and became the largest mfg rep sales firm in the country. He and his father were pioneers in the wholesale giftware sales industry. They began with a showroom in the old Santa Fe building in downtown Dallas, moved into the Merchandise Mart and later Eddie was one of the original tenants in the Trade Mart. When the giftware market expanded, he again was one of the first tenants in the World Trade Center. The mfg rep business grew to 5 showrooms in the major market centers in the country and had more than 100 sales reps on the road at one time. At the same time the rep business was at its peak, he also began importing his own product line, New Trends, with a 100,000 plus sq ft warehouse, designed and opened a series of retail franchise gift store under the name Gizmo and later Capt's Cargo. He expanded into real estate in the late 1960's with Parker Plaza and convinced Norman Brinker it was the perfect location for the second location of Steak & Ale Restaurants. Other long term tenants included Half Price Books, who later purchased the shopping center from Eddie. After turning the mfg rep business over to his son, Robert Parker, he created the Atrium Antique Mall and again started importing, this time antique furniture and antique reproductions. He was an astute businessman, traveled the world as an importer, designed both decorative accessories and furniture and used his architectural training and talent in his own building projects. Eddie was an avid tennis fan & player, loved to paint in oils and ended his life with a statement few can make, "I've done everything in life I wanted to and enjoyed every minute of it." Eddie was preceded in death by his wife, Wynelle in 2002 and later his sister, Jane. He is survived by his present wife, Janet, his son, Robert and wife, Debbie, his daughter, Patricia and husband, Dan, 6 grandchildren; Curtis, Matthew, Stephanie, Abigail, Andrew and Annie, nephew, Dan and Leah Winn. He loved his family, and his children and grandchildren are his greatest legacy. Funeral service will be held 2:00 p.m. Monday, March 1, 2010 at Sparkman Hillcrest Funeral Home's Northwest Highway Chapel.