Dr. Beverly Parker, 86, Port Arthur

 

Last updated 4/30/2024 at 8:33pm

Dr. Beverly Delle Parker, distinguished professor, community leader, beloved mother, doting grandmother, and cherished friend to many, died on April 25 in Houston. She was admitted to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center on April 16th and spent her final days continuing to share her kindness and love with her gathered family and the attending (and adoring) hospital staff. She was 86 years old.

Beverly was a passionate teacher whose career began shortly after she arrived in Port Arthur and was hired to teach elementary school at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. In 1975, she was invited to create a business etiquette class at Port Arthur College (now Lamar State College Port Arthur) and fell in love with the challenges and rewards of teaching at the college level. She earned a master’s degree (Lamar University) and a PhD (University of Houston) in political science and continued her career at LSCPA until she retired in 2006. In her 31-year career at LSCPA she served as Chair of the Liberal Arts Department and Chair of the Distinguished Speaker Series, organized and joined the LSCPA Faculty-Senate, and received the Julie and Ben Rogers Community Service Award. After retirement, Beverly remained close friends with many of her colleagues in the LSPCA family and was always delighted to hear from her former students.

Beverly’s devotion to service led her to invest her time and spirit into numerous community activities, including the YMCA, the Recovery Center for Southeast Texas, the Jefferson County Visitor’s Bureau, the Service League of Port Arthur, and the Gulf Coast Gala. She was a member of the Jefferson County Central Appraisal Review Board until last year, when she resigned at age 85. She supported the Gift of Life organization and was their 2023 recipient of the Shining Light Award. 

Beverly’s motivation for accomplishment was instilled by her parents. Born in San Antonio in 1938, Beverly Stiegler was a descendent of the wave of “Hill Country Germans” who immigrated and settled in Hondo in the late nineteenth century. Her father Clifford Stiegler was a switchman for the Southern Pacific Railroad, and her mother LaDelle Stiegler worked as a secretary and assistant librarian at a local school. Beverly felt driven by her parents’ imperative that she “accomplish something every day.” When Beverly graduated high school, she tried to persuade her father to ignore 1950’s era assumptions that she should simply find a job until she found a husband. She took a job to pay for two semesters at a San Antonio junior college, achieved high grades, and Clifford was convinced. Beverly then attended Southwestern University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology. 

In her senior year at Southwestern, Beverly started what she called the greatest adventure in her life. It began with a blind date and two or three additional dates with Carl Parker, a recent University of Texas law school graduate and Judge Advocate General trainee in the United States Navy. Carl was transferred to Newport, Rhode Island for a year. When he was transferred to his next assignment in Corpus Christi, Carl visited Beverly and asked her to marry him, and she accepted. Beverly described her decision to marry Carl in a series of short essays for grandchildren: Carl was different from every boy she had ever dated and she knew she was making a leap of faith, but was confident it was the right choice. She always smiled wryly when she recounted that before she met Carl, she wasn’t sure she wanted to get married because she might get bored.

Beverly’s intuition about Carl proved correct. They shared an understanding of God and faith, a love of reading, a passion for lifelong learning, and a shared belief that they had a responsibility to work to improve the lives of people around them and to give back to the community. For his part, Carl, whose political career included 34 years in the Texas Legislature, gained a valuable advisor. Beverly was Carl’s secret superpower whom he consulted daily for advice on the various issues he was facing. Their marriage lasted 64 years,  until Carl died on March 22, 2024, five weeks before Beverly. 

What made Beverly happiest and created the most meaning in her life was her relationships with the people around her: her family, old friends, new friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and even strangers that she met. Beverly believed that the essence of God was love, acceptance, mercy, and selflessness, and she quietly shared these virtues with everyone she knew or met. She was patient, kind, caring and humble. She rarely judged, was slow to rile, and was always quick to forgive and move on, usually with a “Grammy hug.” To know Beverly was to be continually reminded that love is the most powerful force in the universe, and that there is still ample goodness in the world and real hope for a better future. 

Beverly was preceded in death by her husband Senator Carl Allen Parker. She is survived by her daughters, Valerie Hintzen (Erich) and Chris Parker (Elena Labrador); her son, Allen Parker (Andrea); her grandchildren Andrew Hintzen, Emma Hintzen (Michael Martinez-Silva), Peyton Garrett (Jace), and Tripp Parker; and her brother Ronnie Stiegler. 

A visitation gathering of family and friends will be held from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m., Thursday, May 2, 2024, at Melancon Levingston Funeral Home in Nederland. A Celebration of Dr. Beverly Parker's Life will be held at 3:00 p.m. on the same day, at Calder Baptist Church in Beaumont. Graveside Services will be held at 1:00 p.m., Friday, May 3, 2024, at the Texas State Cemetery, 909 Navasota St., Austin, Texas 78702.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to:

Parker Scholarship Fund, P. O. Box 1446, Port Arthur, TX, 77641;

Gift of Life, 2390 Dowlen Road, Beaumont, TX 77706; or

Calder Baptist Church, 1005 N. Eleventh St., Beaumont, TX, 77702

 

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