Col. Joseph (Joe) Mayon Parker

October 11, 1931October 26, 2020

Col. Joseph (Joe) Mayon Parker, 89, a native of North Carolina and a resident of Raleigh, passed away on October 26, 2020. He was preceded in death by his wife, Lauretta Owen Dyer Parker, mother Mildred Poe Parker and father James Mayon Parker. Joe was born on October 11, 1931, in Washington, NC and lived in Windsor, NC until the age of 3. His family later moved to Ahoskie where he and Lauretta raised their family.

Joe graduated from Ahoskie High School in 1949. He attended Davidson College for 2 years and earned his undergraduate degree and in 1992 a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

While in Ahoskie, Joe ran Parker Brothers, Inc., a Printing and Publishing Company, which published the Hertford County News-Herald, and the papers in several surrounding counties. Joe eventually acquired full control of the company which continued to grow under his leadership, at one point publishing as many as seven community newspapers in northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia. For many years, he wrote a weekly column for the papers.

Joe worked tirelessly to promote economic growth in northeastern North Carolina serving on numerous local and state boards. As a member of the East Carolina University Board of Trustees he helped bring more and better health care to eastern North Carolina with the establishment of what is now the Brody School of Medicine.

Joe met his wife, in Pittsburgh, PA while he attended a printing management program at what is now Carnegie Mellon University. They were both members of the Roger Williams Fellowship, a Baptist student group. They especially enjoyed their many dates watching the Pirates play and dining on Italian food.

In 1993 Gov. Jim Hunt appointed Joe to head the Governor’s Highway Safety Program whereby Joe brought the “Click It or Ticket” and “Booze It and Lose It” programs as we all know them today to North Carolina, along with many other safety initiatives. In 2018 and 2019, he was honored with special awards for his work during his 8 years as the leader of the program.

Joe’s military career extended into a lengthy commitment to his country by serving two years in the U.S. Army in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. He then served in the National Guard for 31 years. During his career, he attended both the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the Army War College and in the late 70s and early 80s he led the guard’s state public affairs division in Raleigh.

Joe was active throughout his life in the Democratic Party. He served on the party’s state executive committee, and in 1980 he was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. His last act was to vote in the 2020 election. He gathered his remaining strength to loudly and proudly declare his votes for Democrats- local, state, and national.

For as long as his health allowed, he attended his weekly Rotary lunch meetings. He was proud to be recognized as a Paul Harris fellow and always looked forward to his weekly fellowship time with his fellow Rotarians. As time passed going to Rotary became a highlight of his week. He could always deliver a “beautiful prayer” as part of the meetings.

Joe loved his church and the Lord. He was baptized into the Ahoskie First Baptist Church at the age of 9. A special highlight Joe always carried with him was leading other boys his own age to accept Christ and join the church. After they were married, he and Lauretta joined Ahoskie United Methodist Church. In Raleigh, they became members of Hayes Barton United Methodist Church. While at Hayes Barton, Joe served for 15 years as Chairman of the Communication Committee for the NC Conference of the United Methodist Church. He also traveled on various mission trips to Guatemala, Nicaragua and Africa.

Joe and Lauretta loved traveling and seeing the world and some of their trips included South Africa, Victoria Falls, Russia and Zambia. One of their favorite overseas trips was visiting Lauretta’s childhood WWII pen pal Enid Heath and her husband in England. Lauretta and Enid continued their letter writing for all of their lives. Some of Joe’s other greatest loves were Parker’s BBQ, the NC Symphony, NC Theatre, a good steak, and above all watching his beloved Tar Heels play.

He leaves behind a son Joseph Wilbur Parker of Raleigh; daughter Katherine Parker-Lowe of Ocracoke, North Carolina, sisters Julia Credle of Savannah, Georgia, and Suzannah Early of Apex; brother in law Gifford Dyer and wife, Mary Ann, of Orange, Ohio; nieces and nephews Janet Largent of Solon, Ohio; Jennie Fazio of Solon, Ohio; Carroll Credle III of Chapel Hill, Jamie Credle of Savannah, GA; Lyn Hardway of Greensboro and Herbert Turner, Jr. of Apex.

There will be a graveside service at Historic Oakwood Cemetery on Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Hayes Barton UMC Music Fund or Ahoskie United Methodist Church 212 Church St. Ahoskie, NC 27910.

Funeral arrangements are by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home in Raleigh.


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    Wednesday, November 4, 2020

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G. Gifford Dyer

November 4, 2020

I met Joe Parker when he married my sister March 23, 1957. They were married at Heights Christian Church in Shaker Heights, OH. We spent most Christmases together at Mom and Dad Dyers' home on Huntington Rd. Shaker Hts.
On one of my trips to Ahoskie, NC Joe and I put in a set of pull down stairs for access to the attic space. We always had a project.
Most Christmas celebrations included Lauretta and Joe at our parents home.

Mary Lou Goodrich

November 3, 2020

I met Joe and Lauretta at Hayes Barton Methodist Church where we shared many things. We belonged to the Cameron Sunday School class, met at Wednesday evening fellowship, Loretta and I were in the same circle, etc. Fran McMillan organized a “Chicken Foot” group that included lunch, birthday celebrations, and trips to Myrtle Beach and Joe’s condo at Duck. Joe and I broke our hips on the same day in 2015 and spent time at Rex Rehab.
They were die hard Democrat’s and how appropriate that Joe was able to vote in 2020.
I am proud to have been a part of their lives and they with mine. They made the world better.
Mary Lou Goodrich

Anne Sims

November 3, 2020

I enjoyed working with Joe on the NCCUMC Communications Team, and also receiving his warm and full Christmas letters. He was a great example to many of us, and will be missed. Rest In Peace, brother, and rise in glory.

Paul Jones

November 3, 2020

I preceded Joe as Director of the Governor's Highway Safety Program. We came from different political camps, but had one mission - to reduce deaths and injuries on our highways. While I was in another State agency, I was privileged to work with and be a part of the "Click or Ticket" campaign, because of Joe's leadership and vision. While a dedicated political partisan, he never let that get in the way of doing the right thing for people of North Carolina. If only people in today's world would follow his partisan, yet be able to be friends and show respect...for a common good. It was indeed a pleasure knowing and working with Joe. He was a leader.

Chuck Hurley

November 2, 2020

I first met Joe Parker twenty seven years ago when he became Gov. Hunt’s Director of Highway Safety. We were just beginning the Click or Ticket effort. Joe’s leadership and management skills laid the foundation for a program that has saved more than 300,000 lives nationally. My favorite memory was a trip we did together through western North Carolina visiting every small radio station all the way to Murphy. He and Lauretta had a beautiful life together and I will miss him dearly.

Bev Perdue

November 1, 2020

Joe Parker was the best of North Carolina. He loved this state and he made a difference to our people. Thank you for your life of service and stewardship

Bud Amburn

November 1, 2020

Joe and I had a lot in common: Among them, country newspaper publisher, (Me at The Chowan Herald in Edenton) love for the Methodist Church and the Democratic Party. And he didn't hold it against me when I broke ranks in 1972 and became what the Raleigh N&O branded a "Jessecrat". It could be said that Joe majored in community service and minored in journalism. We enjoyed a personal and professional friendship that I will always cherish.


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