Darrell Dean Parker, 75, of Nixa, Missouri, continued his trend of impeccable timing when he passed from this life of natural causes on Nov. 21, 2022, after spending a heartfelt week with family and ensuring the family will gather and give thanks for years to come while fondly remembering his love of mashed potatoes, pineapple salad and ketchup as the essential Thanksgiving Day combination to grace his plate.
Darrell was born May 13, 1947, in Jefferson, Iowa, to the late Dean and Alberta (Fagen) Parker.
During his early years, he helped out around the farm and spent time with his many cousins.
Attending Yale-Jamaica-Bagley High School, Darrell was a band member, played on the inaugural basketball and football teams and captured the heart of Sally Thornburg. The pair was later nominated as YJB Homecoming King and Queen.
Destined to be soulmates, Darrell and Sally were united in marriage on Aug. 13, 1967.
Darrell was a U.S. Air Force service member from 1966 to 1970.
He and Sally lived in Alaska and California before settling in Ankeny, Iowa, where they raised their family.
Together they enjoyed many road trips, fun nights laughing and visiting with friends and watching their children grow. Eventually, they relocated to southern Missouri, where they loved to take in music shows around Branson and the sights at Silver Dollar City.
Darrell was always tinkering with something and never hesitated to work on Sally’s honey-do list.
Darrell and Sally recently celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary back in Iowa.
Darrell spent most of his career as a logistics and operations manager for various transportation companies. He thought of his colleagues and drivers as his second family, and he never knew a stranger or a dirty joke that wasn’t worth telling.
Darrell loved being a father, supporting his children by coaching and teaching them how to build or fix just about anything. But most of all, he taught them how to love life and others.
As a grandfather, “Papa D” cherished his time with his grandchildren, which was evident to others through his shared stories.
Among friends, he was known as “Parker” or “Parks” and “Big D,” the big guy with a laugh that would fill a room that will be greatly missed. His quick wit and genuine soul made him one-of-a-kind and loved by so many.
His parents; and siblings, Kathy (Bill Rogers) and Donnie (Polly), preceded him in death.
He is survived by his wife, Sally; daughter, Pam (Jared Guthridge); and son, Doug (Kendra); grandchildren, Raymond, Della and Kaedyn; brother, Dennis; and numerous friends.
Family and friends are invited to attend a Celebration of Life gathering on April 1 from 2:30-5:30 p.m. at the District at 1350 S.W. Vintage Parkway in Ankeny. Join us at 3 p.m. to share stories and laughs to commemorate his life.
In place of flowers, the family requests donations to the nonprofit organizations he shares a passion for with his children: the Alaska SeaLife Center (www.alaskasealife.org) and the Upper Midwest Great Dane Rescue (www.thegreatdanerescue.com).
Life without Darrell is hard, but “when we lose someone we love, we must learn not to live without them, but to live with the love they left behind.” – Unknown