Memorial held for retired San Diego search and rescue sheriff’s sergeant, Donald Parker

0
204
WEBmemorial.jpg

Hundreds turned out for the celebration of life and memorial service for retired County of San Diego Sheriff’s Sergeant, Donald Albert Parker, held Mar. 2 at El Cajon’s Shadow Mountain Community Church. Parker passed away from brain cancer on Valentine’s Day. 

Hundreds turned out for the celebration of life and memorial service for retired County of San Diego Sheriff’s Sergeant, Donald Albert Parker, held Mar. 2 at El Cajon’s Shadow Mountain Community Church. Parker passed away from brain cancer on Valentine’s Day. 

His widow, Missy, and children, Daniel, Jonathan, and Sarah Parker-Northrup, with other family and friends, joined attendees such as current and retired law enforcement staff and search and rescue members in celebrating his multifaceted life.  

Parker joined the San Diego Sheriff’s Department in 1989.  He is best remembered as the Search and Rescue Coordinator but also worked in patrol, jails, and SED.  He coordinated major search and rescue campaigns  for Chelsea King and Amber Dubois, among others.

“Don was not only a tremendous deputy and loved within the department,” said Sheriff Bill Gore, “He was well known and respected outside the department.” 

Chelsea King’s father, Brent King, appeared at the service, along with his wife Kelly, to pay their respects.

“We are so honored to be in this room” said King. In his testimony, he relayed what Parker told him about the search for his daughter: “We will search for Chelsea until there is no place left to look.”  Chelsea King’s body was located six days after she went missing.

The San Diego Sheriff Department’s Honor Guard was joined by eight others in performing the flag service.  Sheriff Gore presented the folded flag to Parker’s widow, Missy Parker. 

Parker was born in Newark, New Jersey, and spent time spent in France and in San Diego county among other areas. He resided and worked in east county for a number of years.

The memorial service included performances by The Calvary Mountain Boys (with two original members plus guest musicians), which he was once a member of, family friends such as Norm Daniels, along with contributions from Sheriff Bill Gore, former coworker Chris Van Gorder, family friend Nick Esayian, Brent and Kelly King, Cameron Cripps, Mel Bittner, and daughter Sarah Parker-Northrup.  

“When I met with Missy (Parker’s widow), I asked her what was one of Don’s favorite scripture – she said I Corinthians 13:1-7,” said Shadow Mountain Pastor Ray Benton, adding “The significance of the passage is how the apostle Paul talks about how love acts.” 

Pastor Benton gave the sermon at the memorial.

Family friend Norm Daniels welcomed the crowd as he recounted anecdotes and stories from decades of long friendship with Parker.

“We went to college together, starting in 1975, we sat next to each other,” said Daniels. “We developed a friendship. He was a bit of a kidder.”

Jan Bittner, a family friend, first met Parker in Paris, France, when he was a teen. His father, Donald M., passed and his mother, Therese, moved her family to France after her husband’s death.  Bittner described Don as “Just great, a happy-go-lucky teen, but not in a spacey way.”

“He was everybody’s friend,” she said. “They were in the apartment below us. His big change, at about 15, was when he went with my husband, Mel, to see a Christian magician, Andre Kole, and committing his life to christ then.” 

Parker continued his education at Christian High School in El Cajon. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music in 1979 from Christian Heritage College. Parker joined the band The Calvary Mountain Boys in 1980. They played throughout the west coast and produced an album.

Parker’s daughter said she was grateful for the show of love and support from the community.

“I am so thankful for everyone that will be here,” said Parker-Northrup before the service started. “My father would be overwhelmed to see all the people that came together.” 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here