F. Parker

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 6, 2009

F. Gail Parker
COURTLAND—Francis Gail Parker, 66, died May 2, 2009, at Southampton Memorial Hospital.
He was born in Norfolk, the son of the late Gail Lee and Frances Mott Parker.
Mr. Parker was a 1961 graduate of Oscar Smith High School, a graduate of Old Dominion College, and earned his Masters Degree from Marshall University. He served in the Army Reserves, was agency manager for Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance, and a long time area football coach.
He began coaching baseball and football when he was sixteen years old. Coaching was the passion of his life.
His high school coaching career began at John Yeates High School in 1968. In 1970, he took a position at Marshall University as a freshman football coach and was one of four surviving coaches of the Marshall airplane crash of 1970.
In 1971, he came to Franklin High School as a guidance counselor and football coach and served until 1975.
He returned to his alma mater, Oscar Smith High School, as a guidance counselor and football and track coach from 1975 to 1976.
In 1976, he began working for Virginia Farm Bureau, where he continued to work until his recent death.
In addition to working full time for Farm Bureau, he continued to serve as a volunteer football coach at various schools in the community.
The schools at which he volunteered over the years include Southampton Academy, Franklin High School, Lakeland High School, Manchester High School, Chowan University and, most recently, Deep Creek High School.
He was an advocate for, and dedicated to physical fitness. He was a former triathlete, completed 49 triathlons and continued to swim and bike until his recent death.
His Christian faith was very important to him. He was a member of Courtland Baptist Church and taught Sunday school.
His Sunday school class, the Jerusalem Bible Class, consisted of more than 50 members.
He made a significant and positive difference in the lives of the countless people he touched every day of his life.
Survivors include his wife of 46 years, Jean King Parker; one daughter, Carrie Gail Parker of Clayton, N.C.; one son, Brian Whittaker Parker of Blacksburg; three grandchildren, Brittany Parker Alston, Brad Michael Alston and Elizabeth Frances Alston of Clayton; two sisters, Diane P. Waggoner and husband Tim of Chesapeake and Holly P. Bumgardner and husband Mike of Virginia Beach; and many other loving relatives.
A funeral service will be conducted today at Wright Funeral Home with the Rev. Thomas Speight officiating.
Interment will follow in Poplar Spring Cemetery. The family suggests memorials be made to Courtland Baptist Church Building Fund, P. O. Box 148, Courtland, Va. 23837.
Condolences may be offered at wwwwrightfuneralhome.org.