LECANTO, Fla. —
The Rev. Lee Wayne Parker Jr., a United Methodist Church pastor for 40 years, passed away July 8, 2014, at Diamond Ridge Rehab Center, Lecanto. He was 83.
Lee was born in Sharon June 14, 1931, to William Lee Wayne Parker Sr. and Marie Isabel Chantrey Parker.
He was a member of the Sharpsville First United Methodist Church.
He attended Sharpsville schools, where he was Senior Class President and participated in basketball, baseball, band, chorus, student council and honor society.
As a starter for the Blue Devils, his basketball team made it to the 1949 state semi-final round against undefeated Ambridge.
At Allegheny College, Meadville, he was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, was a starter on the Gators basketball team and sang tenor with the Allegheny Singers, remaining a faithful member of the choir through the last 2012 reunion.
After earning his bachelor of arts degree in 1953, Lee taught American history and coached basketball in the Mercer school system.
He married his high school sweetheart, Averyl Faye Smock, on Aug. 21, 1954.
Shortly thereafter, Lee enlisted in the U.S. Army and was stationed for two years at Fort Knox, Ky. Upon his return to Sharpsville, he worked in his parents’ business, the Parker Lumber Co., while earning a master’s degree in science and education at Westminster College, New Wilmington, in 1958.
Heeding a long-felt call to the ministry, in 1961 Lee moved his family to Drew University, Madison, N.J., where he graduated in 1965 with a master of divinity degree.
Part of his graduate study included student preaching in the Everittstown and Pattenburg, N.J., United Methodist Churches.
With their four children, Lee and Faye returned to Pennsylvania in 1965 to take a preaching position at the Linesville and Harmonsburg UMCs.
Lee served there for five years before becoming pastor at the Edinboro UMC from 1970 to 1981. Next, he was appointed minister to the West View UMC in Pittsburgh, from which he retired in 1992.
He proceeded to build his dream home in Treasure Lake, DuBois. An energetic and committed person, Lee couldn’t stay retired for long; he soon returned to preaching at the Mount Zion UMC in DuBois.
A skillful communicator, Rev. Lee illuminated scripture using current references. He touched his congregation with humorous and poignant anecdotes. Creative and entertaining, he celebrated American Methodism’s 200th anniversary by donning colonial dress and mounting a horse in the role of a circuit-riding preacher.
He delighted parishioners of all ages with his “Safari Pastor, searching for God’s truth in the jungles of life” children’s sermons. Deeply empathetic to others’ tough situations, he devoted countless hours in counsel and prayer to those in need.
In 2003, Lee fulfilled his dream to retire to Florida. During these active years, he enjoyed numerous cruises to the Caribbean, Panama, and Alaska.
He read Civil War history late into the night. He took up his high school instrument, the trumpet, and delighted in playing “Happy Birthday” for family and friends. An avid golfer, Lee continued to play local courses with his golf buddies in Florida and Pennsylvania.
He relished nothing more than socializing over a buffet-style meal, and getting his money’s worth.
Most recently, Lee discovered a passion for buying and selling collectibles. He was a natural at this business with a good eye and successful sales in his antique mall booth.
Everyone who knew Lee felt his love. He made us laugh with his quick wit. He comforted us with the right words. He inspired us with his faith. He answered his call.
Lee is survived by: his wife of 60 years, Faye, and children Linda, Donald, Christopher and Melanie; granddaughter Heather; son-in-law Tom; sister Florence Parker Alexander; and nieces and nephews, Cynthia, Jeffery, Rodney and Laurel.
He was predeceased by parents Lee and Marie Parker and niece Jennifer Lee.
Donations in lieu of flowers may be sent to the United Methodist Committee on Overseas Relie, 475 Riverside Drive, Room 1520, New York, NY 10115. Phone: 888-252-6174.