Kenneth W. Parker of Barrington, a World War II veteran and retired writer and editor for the Providence Journal for more than 43 years, passed away peacefully the morning of Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at age 96.
He graduated from Central Falls High School and attended Brown University. In 1942, he enlisted in the Army Air Force, serving with the 9th Air Force in England, France, and Germany as a Staff Sergeant until 1946.
He took a position with the Providence Journal in 1947, where he was a reporter, photographer, librarian, and photo editor for 17 years. He was automotive and motor sports editor for 27 years, traveling to factories and design studios in the U.S. and Britain.
He also wrote a weekly motor sports column, and covered major races at Indianapolis, Daytona, and Watkins Glen. This wasn’t work to him, as he thoroughly enjoyed it. So did his kids, who got to ride in all the new model cars he reviewed.
He then became the Home and Real Estate Editor for 2 years, then state editor for the local pages from 1976 until his retirement in 1978. Upon his retirement, the Journal invited him to continue his automotive activities, which he happily pursued until 1991.
He was offered a position as a photo journalism instructor at the University of Rhode Island, which he held from 1965 to 1979.
Hardly the sedentary type, he designed and built his passive solar home in the early ‘80s, where he lived until his death.
Ken was an avid volunteer, and donated his time among several organizations. For 14 years, he was a swimming instructor for handicapped children at the Barrington YMCA. He also worked extensively with the Providence Preservation Society, leading tours for school children.
He was born Nov. 11, 1916, the son of the late Louis and Helen (Holt) Parker. His former wife, Frances (Lindgren) Parker of Barrington passed away in 2001. Survivors include their children and spouses, Valerie Anne (Parker) Morrison and James Morrison of Strafford, NH; Kathy Lee Parker and James O’Hearn of Portsmouth, RI; David Lindgren Parker and Crystal Davis of Clearwater, Fla., and three grandchildren — Ashley, Michael and Kimberly Morrison, who move too often to keep track of.
Always fascinated by science and exploration, Ken’s last act was to donate his body to the Brown University Anatomy Group. Perhaps his donation will help in the discovery of the secret to a long, active and healthy life. We suspect it has something to do with keeping mind and body engaged, and eating lots of vanilla ice cream with hot fudge sauce.
At Ken’s request a small, private memorial will be held for family members. Those who would like to remember him can do so with a donation to “Restore the North Woods” (www.restore.org). He donated regularly due to his love for the forests of Maine; a love which he instilled in his children during the best camping trips ever.