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Charles's Story

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Charles Kenyon Parker, 96 year old resident of Harper County, died 29, August, 2017 at the Harper County Community Hospital, Buffalo, Oklahoma. A memorial service will be held at Wharton' s Funeral Chapel in Alva, Oklahoma, on Thursday, 28, September, 2017, at 10:00 a.m., with Reverend Phil Davis officiating. Interment will follow at the Alva Municipal Cemetery.
Charles was the fifth child of David Preston and Mary Louise (Potts) Parker and was born on 04, September, 1920 at his parent's home in Buffalo, Oklahoma. In the fall of 1926 the Parker children and their mother moved to Alva, Oklahoma, in order that David, Jr., the oldest brother, could attend Northwestern Teacher's College, and Charles would start the first grade. The family endured the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl years during Charles' early schooling. The summer months were usually spent on the family farm in Harper County, and at the age of 12 Charles began helping with the wheat harvest as a part-time wagon boy driving a two-horse team. Charles played football for Alva High before graduating in 1938. He entered college at Northwestern the next fall. In the spring of 1940 Charles attended morning classes at Northwestern and often walked down Fourth Street to his job at a furniture store. While walking to work he began to notice a fellow student who walked to classes at about the same time. She had lovely brown eyes and even smiled at him occasionally. Later she was to become his wife.
During those college years Charles found time to complete the Civil Aeronautics Administration's Civil Pilot Training Program, and attend the Tommy Smyer Flying School at Tonkawa Junior College, completing the CAA's Advanced Flight Training Program. After World War II he would purchase a Fairchild PT-19, two seat, open cockpit, low wing monoplane from the brother of Wylie Post. He kept the plane until it was destroyed in a storm in 1947.
In March of 1942 Charles signed up for the United States Navy's V-7 Program. He was officially enlisted in the U.S. Navy on 17, April, 1942, and was ordered to inactive duty to complete his Bachelor of Science double major in Mathematics and Physics. His diploma was dated 07, May, 1943, and was picked up by his sister Louise. Later in life he would complete a Master of Teaching degree at Northwestern, undertake graduate work at Oklahoma State University, and at Fort Hays, Kansas State College obtaining a Standard Administrators Certificate.
On 09, March, 1943, Charles reported for active duty at Abbott Hall Midshipmen' s School, Chicago. Upon completion he was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S Naval Reserve and reported aboard the USS Schley (APD14) on 01, December, 1943, just weeks prior to deployment to the Marshall Islands. The USS Schley was a WW1 flush deck-four stacker destroyer re-furbished for service as a 'fast attack transport' to transport Marine Raiders (and Army Rangers), and to land them ashore during amphibious operations. Charles first saw action serving as a landing boat officer during the invasion of the Kwajalen and Eniwetok atolls by U. S. Marine Raiders. The Schley participated in 16 landings in just the Kwajalen operation alone. In the campaign to seize New Guinea the Schley participated in landings at Aitape, Wakde, and Biak to name a few. It was on 02, July, 1944 while serving as a wave commander on the Noempoor Island, Dutch New Guinea landing, that Charles was hit in the face, arm and chest by shrapnel. He spent six weeks recovering. In the re-taking of the Philippines the Schley took part in operations at numerous locations throughout the islands (including Morotai; Ormac Bay, Mindoro, Lingayen Gulf, Marivales Harbor and Corregidor). The Schley departed the Philippines for Ulithi Atoll in early February 1945, escorted conveys in the western Pacific, was briefly at Okinawa in April before proceeding on to San Francisco for decommissioning and the scrap yard. Charles went on to attend Damage Control School at the Philadelphia Naval Yard, then was assigned to the USS Cavallaro (APD128). By that time the war had already ended. Lieutenant (Jg) Charles Kenyon Parker served honorably and was detached from active duty 21, April, 1946, returning to northwest Oklahoma. During his military service he had received numerous campaign ribbons and was awarded a Purple Heart.
Charles was united in marriage to Neva Lois Mansfield (brown eyes) in Ada, Oklahoma, on 20, October, 1946. After their marriage Charles and Lois took over the operation of Parker family farm in Harper County, Oklahoma. The three room farm house had no telephone, no electricity and no indoor plumbing, but Charles soon fixed these shortcomings. Charles and Lois were parents to three children: Thomas Mansfield Parker (Navy veteran), Charles Kenyon Parker II (Navy veteran), and Elizabeth Jane Parker.
In 1957, in addition to farming and ranching, Charles began a career in public education that would continue until retirement in 1975. In those years he served as a teaching principal at Selman Public Schools: classroom teacher at Ft. Supply Public Schools; Superintendent, of Gage Public Schools; Food Service Director for the Woodward Public Schools; and Superintendent of Ft. Supply Public Schools. Charles continued to operate the family farm for another 34 years before being fully retired. He was able to reside there until his death.
Charles was a member of the Buffalo First United Methodist Church. At various times throughout the years Charles held memberships in Sigma Tau Gamma Fraternity; the Oklahoma Education Association; the Oklahoma Association of School Administrators; the Oklahoma Farm Bureau; the Oklahoma Wheat Growers Association; the American Legion; the Lions Club; Rotary International; the Good Sam Club of America; the Disabled American Veterans; and the Masonic Lodge. He served as president of both the Harper County Teachers Association and the Ellis County Teachers Association. He also served as president of the Tornado Sams Chapter of the Oklahoma Good Sam Club. In addition to those positions, he served as Director of the Harper County Water Corporation, Inc., and Director of the Oklahoma Rural Water Association. He was also a longtime member of the Harper County Excise board.
Charles was preceded in death by his wife Lois; one son, Thomas Mansfield Parker; his parents; three sisters, Elizabeth Southern, Annette Parker, and Louise Bingham; and one brother, David P. Parker II.
He is survived by one son Charles K. Parker II, and one daughter Elizabeth Jane Parker both of Woodward; one daughter-in-law Patty Rosendale Parker of Oklahoma City; one grandson Thomas Mansfield Parker II and wife Tiffany, of Oklahoma City; one granddaughter Katherine Annette Parker Keith and husband Don, ofNorman; four great-grandchildren: Ian Kenyon Keith, Gaebriel Lewis Parker, Ethan Mansfield Parker, and Abigail Grace Parker; and many nieces and nephews.

Condolences may be made online at www.whartonfuneralchapel.com.
Published on September 11, 2017
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