Darrell Dean Parker, 93, of Denver, passed away peacefully on February 23rd, 2023 in Denver, Colorado.
Darrell was born in Douds, Iowa to Frank and Weltha Parker on September 17th, 1929. He grew up on a farm and after graduating from high school, Darrell taught at a rural Iowa school and in bad weather, drove the kids to school in a horse and wagon. He attended St. Ambrose College (now University) part-time in Davenport, Iowa. It was during this time that Darrell met his love, Dorothy, while they both were working at the meat packing plant across the river in East Moline, Illinois. Darrell converted to Catholicism and the two were married on March 31st, 1951 in East Moline. While living in East Moline, the two welcomed the birth of their first child, Douglas Michael on January 5th, 1952. About 3 years later they moved to Cicero, Illinois where Darrell began studying Mechanical Engineering at Chicago Technical College.
Darrell was an incredibly hard worker and dedicated student. He would work during the day and go to school at night. Upon graduating with his Degree in Mechanical Engineering, the family returned to Iowa, and Darrell began working for Collins Radio in Cedar Rapids. Darrell and his family lived in Hiawatha, and eventually bought a home in Cedar Rapids. While living in Cedar Rapids, Darrell and Dorothy celebrated the birth of their daughter Deanne Marie on May 4th, 1959.
Eventually, work with Martin Marietta brought Darrell and his family to Colorado, where he lived until his passing. Darrell and Dorothy purchased their Denver home in 1961 and made it their forever-home, after significant remodeling and repairs which Darrell completed himself. It was here that Darrell and Dorothy raised their two children and put down roots, becoming parishioners at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. Darrell could always be found volunteering at the Church in some capacity and was a proud and active member of the Knights of Columbus. He found a great sense of pride in serving his community in many different ways, including acting as a Boy Scout Leader for many years, as he himself was an Eagle Scout as well as his son, Doug.
After retiring from Rocky Mountain Orthodontics, Darrell kept busy by putzing around in his basement shop and gardening. Darrell had the most beautiful garden, which he would till and plant by hand each year. People would walk by Darrell and Dorothy’s home to admire the beautiful flowers, fruits and vegetables that Darrell grew each year.
Darrell spent a considerable amount of time with Deanne, Terry and kids lending his Iowa farm and engineering expertise to them, while building their home on their Elizabeth, Colorado acreage. Darrell always enjoyed spending time there over the years.
He also enjoyed running and proudly ran the BolderBoulder 10k Race multiple times. He instilled an interest in running; Deanne ran the BolderBoulder years later and Doug ran in multiple races and a marathon. As time went on, Darrell remained active and would walk each morning around Washington Park. Darrell began providing voluntary park cleanup on his morning walks, which included throwing away trash he’d find along the paths or in the grass, and eventually this evolved into collecting cans. Darrell and Dorothy turned the cans in for recycling reimbursement, which they caringly donated to the Church. They delivered the large amounts of cans in his grey Ford F250 (which he inherited from Doug, passed to Son-in-law Terry and has recently been transferred to Great Grandson Jaxson, who has committed to restoring it in Great Grandpa’s honor).
His family laughingly remembers the large black trash bags Darrell would drag home with him each morning, overflowing with cans.
Darrell and Dorothy sang in the Church choir for many years. Darrell had a strong, beautiful voice and was honored to sing in a few local community theater productions.
Darrell and Dorothy spent their retired years traveling together, which included trips to the Indianapolis 500 Race, (on Darrell’s bucket list), travels across Europe and cruises to Alaska, Hawaii and the Panama Canal. Their trip to Europe was a 50th wedding anniversary gift which included a visit to Belgium to visit Dorothy’s cousin Paul. Both Paul and his son made trips back to Colorado to visit Dorothy and Darrell. Darrell and Dorothy also made an annual trip to Douds, Iowa to attend his high school reunions for many years.
Darrell was a die-hard Broncos fan, even when they weren’t so great, and enjoyed listening to games on his radio or watching them on TV. They shared season tickets in the old South stands with Doug and Jan for several years. There wasn’t a sport or Colorado team that Darrell didn’t like. Darrell and Dorothy would attend DU Hockey games for many seasons, and shared this experience with their grandchildren, and great grandchildren as well. They attended Grandson Bryan’s Elizabeth high school basketball games, never missing a home game, with Darrell acting as the de facto keeper of the stats. They were even honored down on the court on parent appreciation night by Bryan. They attended Grandson Joey’s baseball games and Granddaughter Carrie’s 4-H competitions at the county and state fairs.
Darrell enjoyed reading and learning about new things. He would often immerse himself in books, newspapers or magazines and clip articles to share with family and friends, which reminded those lucky recipients just how thoughtful and caring of a person Darrell was. He would always ask you how you were, what was new in your life or job, and would genuinely listen as you spoke. He truly cared for others, and that was made apparent in any interaction you’d have with him. His family was so incredibly important to him, and he devoted his life to serving God and his family, above all else.
Words truly cannot describe what an impression Darrell has left on his family and his community, and how much he is missed on this earth by those who had the privilege of knowing him.
Darrell is preceded in death by his mother and father, Frank and Weltha Parker, mother-in-law Irma Neels as well as his younger brother Vergal Parker, brother-in-law Eddie Sandoval, sisters-in-law Theresa Sandoval and Ellen Parker.
Darrell’s memory is kept alive by his surviving wife, Dorothy Parker, Daughter Deanne (Terry) Stricker, Son Douglas (Jan) Parker, Brother Veryle “Short” Parker, Sister-in-law Joan Parker, Grandsons Bryan (Kara) Stricker, Benjamin (Linley) Stricker, Granddaughter Carrie (Drew) Bielenberg, Great grandchildren Olivia, Jaxson, Owen, Phia and Benjamin. Several nieces, including Cindy Parker, Julie Velasquez, Cindy Hallmark, Tina Sandoval and several nephews including Tim Parker and Kelly Parker.
A Rosary will be 10:30am on Wednesday March 8th at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Denver.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00am on Wednesday March 8th with Father Brian Larkin of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, officiating. Burial will follow at the Elizabeth Cemetery. Arrangements are by Horan and McConaty Funeral Home, 1091 S. Colorado Boulevard, Denver, CO 80246, where memorials or flowers may be sent, to honor Darrell.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance
God looked down on his planned paradise and said “I need a caretaker.
So God made A Farmer