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July 21, 1938-June 9, 2018

Dean Harrison Parker died at home in Mathews surrounded by loved ones, following a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, on Saturday, June 9, 2018. He was 79 years old.  

Born and raised in Norfolk, Dean graduated from Maury High School and William & Mary Norfolk (now Old Dominion University), and then served loyally and with distinction in the U.S. Army and Merchant Marine service. He took pride in delivering materiel and supplies to American troops stationed in Vietnam and Kuwait.

An avid sailor and globe trotter throughout his adult life, Dean repeatedly visited six continents and navigated every ocean. With a twinkle in his eye and playful grin, he always particularly relished regaling family and friends with sailor-appropriate limericks, and dramatic anecdotes from his countless voyages and ports.

Dean’s five-decade maritime career began upon graduation from high school, working as a deck hand on the Old Bay Line traveling between Norfolk and Baltimore. Dean taught the sixth grade at Little Creek Elementary School in Norfolk, also worked as a licensed real estate broker, and owned and managed various rentals properties. In the 1970s, he returned to the sea and obtained a Master’s License, sailed many types of vessels, including the S.S. United States, and ultimately retired while sailing LASH ships.  

During the last 20 years, Dean resided in Mathews County, where he enjoyed his family, retirement and the water.

He was predeceased by his parents, Morris Vincent Parker and Grace Naomi Parker (née Woodin), and will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 50 years, Pia Parker (née Rengers); his three children, John (Allison), Kedron, and Elske (Peter), and six grandchildren, Bill, Elske, Ateo, Nico, Lorenzo and Abby. His passing occurred four months shy of the birth of a seventh grandchild. 

Dean’s entire family extends their heartfelt gratitude to caregivers Regina Pritchett, Annie Harpe and Joyce Cosby for their selfless and steadfast support. 

A private ceremony and commemoration will be scheduled at a later date. 

Memorial donations can be made to WHRO

Contributions can also be made directly to the Animal Care Society of Mathews, Virginia, which operates under the name Potpourri Shoppe on Main Street.