Oliver Parker Jr., 73, veteran

Posted: May 01, 2001

Oliver Saunders Parker Jr., 73, a decorated lieutenant colonel and veteran of two wars, died of complications of prostate cancer April 22 at St. Agnes Medical Center, Philadelphia.

A resident of Sicklerville in Camden County for more than 20 years, he previously lived in Philadelphia. He was born in Petersburg, Va.

Col. Parker enlisted as a private in the Army in 1946 and served with the occupation forces in Japan in the late 1940s. He was a veteran of the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

Col. Parker was admitted in 1956 to the Army Artillery and Guided Missile School at Fort Sill, Okla., for officer training. He graduated that year as a second lieutenant.

While stationed in Quang Ngai Province in Vietnam in 1964 and 1965, he was awarded the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with a Palm Unit Citation Badge. He later received the Army Commendation Medal with a bronze oakleaf cluster, the Legion of Merit, and a Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.

Col. Parker finished his career as deputy assistant chief of staff at the Army Air Defense Command's First Region headquarters, serving in human resources and administration. He retired in 1972.

Since 1972, Col. Parker had been a personnel manager for the Philadelphia County Assistance Office of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. He helped modernize the office overseeing the installation of automated data and computer systems.

He was a member of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Philadelphia, where he was a member of the Christian Culture Guild.

Col. Parker also was a member of several veterans' organizations, including the 24th Regiment, the 25th Division, the 92d Division, the First Division, and the Ninth and 10th Cavalry associations. He was active in studying and recounting the history of the Buffalo Soldiers, the black regiments that served after the Civil War.

He is survived by his wife, Harriet Brown Parker; a son, Oliver S. 3d; daughters Kassandra Parker-Green and Anitra Brown-Reed; and two granddaughters.

Friends may call after 9:30 a.m. tomorrow at Mount Zion Baptist Church, 50th Street and Woodland Avenue, Philadelphia, where funeral services will begin at 11 a.m. Burial will be Thursday in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va.

S. Joseph Hagenmayer's e-mail address is jhagenmayer@phillynews.com.

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