Obituary: Jeff Parker

Jeff Parker

Jeff Parker

Jeff Parker, devoted husband, proud patriarch, loving father and grandfather, dedicated sibling, trusted advisor, irrepressible chorister, ancient mariner, Wolverine fan, Sigma Phi brother, patriotic Republican, Mayflower descendant and lifelong Episcopal, died suddenly on 22 December in his home. He was 85 and lived a full life, married to his sweetheart Patricia Ann Morgan for almost fifty-seven years.

Jeff was raised in Grosse Point, Michigan and summered on the Great South Bay of Long Island, messing about in boats – which he would do well into his seventies. He was a member of the famed boys choir of the Cathedral of St John the Divine. He was schooled at Mount Hermon prep, returning home to graduate from the University of Michigan.

Jeff spent his career in sales, working first in broadcast marketing, then with a division of McGraw-Hill in Greenwich. He had developed a love for equities in the 1950s and eventually joined Merrill Lynch as an Account Executive in the early 70s. His knowledge of stocks was encylopedic, and he went on to be a founder of the Greenwich branch of Merrill Lynch in 1974, from which he retired in 1998 after working with his namesake son for the final three years. He and Pat traveled worldwide after his retirement, often with the University Glee Club of New York City, which he joined in 1964 (eventually becoming a fifty year member in 2014!).

Jeff had many avocations, but his most enduring pursuit was song. At his peak, he belonged to five different singing groups. The group with which he had the most fun was Greenwich’s own Off Sounders, for which he anchored the bass section for almost forty years. Jeff was a Lifetime member of Riverside Yacht Club and spent many summers racing a succession of sloops and participating in numerous annual RYC Distance Cruises. He played tennis for nearly seventy-five years and was still a member of two weekly indoor groups at the time of his passing. He was also a social animal, identifying stimulating speakers for both the Old Greenwich – Riverside Rotary (of which he was President in 1999) but also for his beloved Retired Men’s Association of Greenwich.

Family was Jeff’s overarching priority. He and Pat raised four children at their home of over fifty years in Old Greenwich, a home he chose for its location on a “dead end” where games could be played without fear of traffic. His research on school systems had led him to Greenwich from their first home Wantagh, Long Island in 1964 . All of his kids were educated at Dundee Elementary, Eastern Junior High, and Greenwich High School. He was an involved father who could be relied upon to urge his children (and grandchildren) to get “out on the courts.” Some of the other children in the neighborhood even thought of him as a father figure. Jeff often appeared on the sidelines of football games and volleyball matches, as well as on the banks of rivers for crew races. He also passed his love of music to his children while they were in grammar school, with Skip playing the bass violin, Laura the cello, Amy the violin, and Wendy the viola.

Jeff was a pillar of St. Paul’s Episcopal church in Riverside, serving as a long-time chorister, Warden, lector, and hamburg-flipper at many a Fair. His faith ran deep and he didn’t fear death, believing in a life everlasting.

Jeff devoted the last few years of his life to the care of his wife Pat. He refused to place her in an institution and resisted all suggestions of re-locating the both of them out of Greenwich to a senior living facility. He wanted to be with her for the rest of his life, in Greenwich – which is exactly what he did.

Jeff leaves his beloved wife Pat, his son Skip and wife Harriet of Riverside, daughter Laura and husband David Gray of Old Saybrook, daughter Amy and husband Ray Donohoe of Stamford, and daughter Wendy and husband Jean-Christian Fages of Menthon St Bernard, France. Jeff was so proud of his grandchildren: Heather Donohoe, Melissa Donohoe (who earned her nursing degree in mid-December and was instrumental in the at-home care of Pat), Thomas Donohoe and wife Elina, Hannah Gray, Izzy Parker, Samuel Parker Gray, Adele Fages and Madeleine Fages. Two great grand-sons are the most recent addition to the family: Eli and Jacob.

His life will be celebrated in a memorial service on Saturday, January 9th at 11:00 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Riverside

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association, www.alz.org

Remembrance postings and photos are encouraged on his memorialized Facebook page: C Jeff Parker

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