Addison was a long-time neighbor and close friend of my family's. He was brilliant in language acquisition, and the first person I ever met who read Latin for the fun of it, sitting down with a classical volume for a bit of light reading. He was intelligent, an analytical thinker who was a pleasure to argue with. He was a good, fond neighbor and friend. I'll miss him.
Addison M. Parker, 90, of Des Moines, died June 15, 2006, of complications from a stoke.
Born January 22, 1916, Mr. Parker attended Des Moines public schools, before graduating from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1933. He graduated from Dartmouth College Phi Betta Kappa in 1937. While at Dartmouth, he was honored with a senior fellowship that allowed him to select his own course of study without the requirement of formal course-work. He graduated from Harvard Law school in 1940. He was an attorney and one of the original partners in the Dickinson Law Firm in Des Moines. He joined the firm in 1952 and retired in 1992.
During WWII, he served in the Navy, in Naval Intelligence as a language officer from 1941-45. The Navy trained him intensively in Japanese at the University of Colorado, and he translated enemy traffic, interrogated Japanese prisoners, and received the Distinguished Service Cross during the war in the Pacific.
Mr. Parker was a staunch defender of civil rights and civil liberties. He helped convince the Des Moines City Council of its inherent power to prohibit racial discrimination in housing and began work, which others completed, that resulted in anti-discrimination and fair employment ordinances in Des Moines. During the Vietnam War, Mr. Parker represented conscientious objectors in disputes with the Selective Service. He was a strong believer in equal justice and did pro-bono work for Iowa Legal Aid, which he also represented on other matters. He received an excellence in service award from Legal Aid in 1995 and was inducted into the Iowa Legal Aid Hall of Fame in 2006. Mr. Parker was a member of the Iowa State Bar Association; Polk County Bar Association; Plymouth Congregational Church; Pow Wow Club; Des Moines Club; the Board of the Iowa Civil Liberties Union; and the Board of Directors of Salisbury House.
Mr. Parker loved the outdoors and was a strong conservationist. He particularly loved the landscapes of Iowa, Michigan, and New England. Locally, he helped obtain Big Creek Lake and Brown's Woods for public use. He enjoyed hiking with his golden retrievers, and was an avid fly fisherman, downhill and cross country skier, and cyclist. He skied with his wife annually in Colorado until age 75 and was taking bicycle rides of 30 miles or more into his late 80's. Mr. Parker loved reading and was particularly interested in history, politics, economics, poetry, and literature. His wife of nearly 70 years, Jane Ann Youngerman Parker, was his constant friend and companion, who shared his intellectual passions and many of his recreational interests.
He is survived by his wife, Jane Ann Youngerman Parker of Des Moines; sons, Addison M. Parker, Jr., Waco, KY; Geoffrey Parker, Anchorage Alaska; sister, Jane Day Mook, Beula, Michigan; brother-in-law, Telford Mook, Beula, Michigan; daughter-in-law, Barbara A. Dixon, Waco, KY; and grandchildren Laura Ann Parker Martin, Waco, KY and Geoff Parker, Waco, KY.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, July 3, 2006 at Plymouth Congregational Church to be conducted by Rev. Patricia Adams Oberbillig.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Iowa Legal Aid, 1111 9th Street, Suite 230, Des Moines, Iowa 50314-2527, phone 515-243-2980, or to a conservation or environmental defense fund of choice.