Dennis Devon Parker (Denny), 76, of Peculiar, Missouri, passed away on February 17, 2014, at Sunrise Assisted Living, in Leawood, KS, from complications related to Progressive Supranuclear Palsy.
Dennis was born on July 10, 1937, in Elmira, Michigan, to Joseph and Ruth Parker. He was the oldest of three brothers. He graduated from Mackenzie High School, in Detroit, Michigan, where he participated in track and field, and was a member of the football team. From there, he went on to earn a degree in Engineering and Economics from Wayne State University in Michigan, a Bachelor's Degree in Organizational and Management Development from Rutgers University in New Jersey, and a Master's Degree in Management from Pace University in New York.
Dennis was no stranger to hard work. While he was studying at Wayne State University, he joined Michigan Bell as an Electronics Technician and, over the course of ten years, worked his way up to Senior Technician, then to Supervisor, and finally, to Area Switch Manager. In 1971, he joined A T & T in New York as a District Manager, transferred back to Michigan as a District Plant Manager in 1973, and then transferred back to New York as a Division Manager in 1977. In 1985, Dennis left A T & T to start his own consulting business, The Princeton Institute. In 1989, he started Independent Telecommunications Networks, Inc. (ITN) and built it into a nationwide company. Once ITN was a multimillion dollar company, he decided to look for another challenge, as the company had reached the goals that he had set. At that point, he left to do a turnaround at Prairie Systems, Inc., in Omaha, Nebraska, and had it profitable in 16 months. With Prairie Systems achieving success, Dennis moved to Chicago and joined 21st Century Cable Group as Senior VP for Marketing. When it was sold in 2001, he signed on with Teleconverge of California as Chief Operating Officer and in 2004, he joined Boardroom Consultants. In 2005, he retired from corporate life and worked as an independent consultant to businesses and future entrepreneurs.
While he was busy excelling in his career, Dennis also had an amazing family life. He married Joy Teetsel on September 22, 1962, and they had their first child the following year. From there, they continued on to have four more children. Joy stayed home with the children while Dennis worked hard to provide for the family. As his family grew, Dennis could be seen supporting his children's activities at dance recitals, band competitions (always dressed in his signature Stewart plaid pants!), sporting events, and highland games.
An accomplished drummer, Dennis played drums with the George Minto quintet in Detroit and taught drum lessons. He passed his love of drumming onto his children, and his grandchildren. Dennis loved music…especially jazz and classical music. His favorite classical composer was Rimsky Korsakov. He also loved hearing the bagpipes and you could always see him at drum and bugle corps shows, cheering on his favorite corps, The Blue Devils.
Dennis was also car enthusiast and an amazing mechanic. As a young man, he built a 1940 Ford C-Gasser and raced it at the Detroit Dragway. He ended up driving the car in the Indy 500 drag finals and won a trophy. Later on in life, you could always find him tinkering under the hood of a car, fixing something or another (usually for his family's benefit!). Even today, the garage is filled with an auto mechanics dream tools!
Dennis is survived by his wife, Joy; his children; Christy and Richard Bean, Stacey Parker, Robyn Parker Kevin and Trisha Parker, and Jason and Tricia Parker; his granddaughter, Jessica Parker; his grandsons; Denys, Aidan, Chase, Graham, Maxwell and Nicholas Parker; and his brothers, Gary Parker, and John Parker, along with their families. Dennis is predeceased by his mother, Ruth; his father, Joseph; and his nephew, Corey Mason.
Dennis' life will be celebrated on Saturday, March 8, 2014. Visitation will be held 10:00-11:00 a.m. followed by memorial service at 11:00 a.m. at Mt. Moriah & Freeman Funeral Home, 10507 Holmes Road, Kansas City, Missouri. A lunch will be served after the service at Lord of Life Lutheran Church, 3105 W 135th St, Leawood, KS.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Cure PSP, 30 E. Padonia Road, Suite 201, Timonium, Maryland 21093, www.give.psp.org
or to Heartland Hospice, 1001 E. 101st Terrace, Suite 180, Kansas City, Missouri 64131.
Arrangements under the direction of Mount Moriah & Freeman Funeral Home, Kansas City, MO.