Derward Copeland Parker Sr.

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Feb. 12, 1942 — Jan. 3, 2020

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Derward Copeland “Buddy” Parker Sr. passed peacefully at his home surrounded by his family on Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. His memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10, 2020, at Joyner’s Funeral Home, 4100 Raleigh Road Parkway W., Wilson. Pastor Gail Skinner will officiate. Interment with full military honors will be conducted later this year at Arlington National Cemetery. A visitation will immediately follow the service.

Friday at 6 p.m., a celebration of life gathering will be held at 1703 Lakeside Drive NW, Wilson.

Buddy came from humble beginnings and graduated from Ralph L. Fike High School class of 1960. Buddy went on to be a highly educated and decorated soldier in the United States Army. He highly valued duty, honor and country, three words prominent in his life from not only his time in the United States Army, but his time as a Boy Scout and Scoutmaster. He believed these three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be and what you will be.

Upon entering military service, Buddy quickly learned that one must prepare themselves educationally to achieve the goals they set for themselves. He saw education, both formal and informal, as a lifelong journey. During his Army career he earned degrees from Campbell University (BBA) and Central Michigan University (MA). He also learned to speak, read and write Mandarin Chinese at the United States Defense Language Institute. Other military education includes the United States Military Academy Preparatory School, Warrant Officer Senior Course, Senior Military Officers’ Cryptologic Course, Military Officer Advisors Cryptologic Course, Branch Officer Career Course Advanced, General Electronic Warfare / Cryptologic Officer Course, and Radio Traffic Analysis Officer Course.

Throughout his distinguished Army career, Buddy excelled in highly classified military intelligence operations. He served more than 20 years outside the continental United States. He had extended deployments to the Far East: Taiwan, South Korea, Okinawa and Vietnam. He also served in Germany. The only thing he loved more than his country, or his military career, was his family.

His military accolades include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal (2), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal (3), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (3), Meritorious Unit Commendation (2), Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal (3), National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with 3 Bronze Service Stars, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (6), Vietnam Civil Actions Medal First class, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm (2), Vietnam Campaign Medal, Parachutist Badge, as well as numerous letters and certificates of commendation.

After retiring from active military duty, Buddy felt this great nation had given him so much. He decided that one way he could give back was by helping children excel in math and science. This was a need when compared to the world in his eyes. He went on to earn a degree (BS) in education, with a concentration in middle school science and mathematics, from Barton College. He then embarked on a 20-year teaching career. Teaching in Pitt, Nash and Wilson counties with 18 years at Greenfield School.

He was preceded in death by his father, William David Parker; his mother, Mary Moore Parker; his sister, Jean “Bonnie” Parker Evans; and his granddaughter, Bailey Christine Parker.

The legacy of his love and life has been left to his family: his wife of 52 years, Linda Gooch Parker of the home; sons, Derward Copeland Parker Jr. and wife Lachelle and Christopher Edward Parker and wife Beth; grandchildren, Megan Elizabeth Parker and fiance Robby Taylor, Madison Brooke Parker, Isabelle Rose Parker and Noah Christopher Parker; sisters, Barbara Bass (Ray) and Brenda Parker; brothers, Bobby Parker, William “Butch” Parker (Teresa), and Thomas “Bootsie” Parker (Susan); and numerous nieces and nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews and a great-great-niece.

The family would like to express their extreme gratitude to the many caregivers that helped Buddy during his time of need.

Flowers are welcome or memorials may be sent to Veterans Residential Services of Wilson, Attention: Claudia Baker, 2500 Nash St., Suite E, Wilson, NC 27896, or a charity of one’s choice.

Condolences may be directed to Joyner’s Funeral Home at www.joyners.net.