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Dr. Michael F. Parker of Madison passed away on May 21 in the comfort of his home, surrounded by his loving wife and children. He was 67 years old.
Michael was born on Aug. 29, 1951, in Snyder, Oklahoma, to Margie and Claude Parker. The second of five children and the grandson of farmers, he was taught the value of hard work, self-sufficiency, and providing for the family. He lived his life in this spirit wherever he went—from his family’s move to Texas, where he attended Austin College and Baylor College of Medicine, to his own journey to the northeast where he’d meet his wife Clara and, soon, build a family of his own.
The young physician and registered nurse met when Michael was an intern with the US Public Health Service in a hospital on Staten Island. Theirs was a whirlwind romance; they fell in love and were married seven months later in 1979. Dr. and Mrs. Parker started their life together in Alexandria Bay, but soon found their way to Connecticut and, ultimately, to Madison. While it was the antique auctions in the VFW hall and fried clams at Lenny and Joe’s that brought them to town, it was the cozy, safe, enchanted nature of the beautiful shoreline community that kept the Parker family here, in the same house, for nearly four decades.
Michael was compassionate, gentle, intelligent, and humble. He was the kind of doctor who would sit with you for a full hour during a physical to make sure he heard every word you had to say, and give you his home phone to call him on Christmas morning in case you needed to talk more. He was the kind of father who would beam with unbridled pride at the achievements—big and small—of his children, and stop at nothing to provide them with the very best opportunities and privileges imaginable. He was the kind of friend who would open his heart and mind to share in the depths of your sorrows and your joys, and give freely of anything he had if it could bring you comfort and peace. And he was the kind of husband who, after celebrating forty years of marriage, remained in awe of the fierce love and devotion his wife showed him and his children.
Dr. Parker was the perfect blend of artist and scientist—he read Walt Whitman and T.S. Eliot as often as he read Einstein. He was a lover of the classics and the contemporary—he could hum every note of Die Zauberflöte and “Hey Jude.” He spent his time in museums and art galleries, in the passenger seat of fast cars, and on the Atlantic Ocean, chasing striped bass and bluefin tuna. Whether at his desk at Internal Medicine of East Haven, his home in Madison, or his getaway on his beloved Martha’s Vineyard, he was never without a subtle smile and a twinkle in his eye. He was a philosopher and a critic, a progressive and a man of traditions, a poet, a clamdigger, a primary care doctor, a dreamer. Most of all, he was a lover, and well-loved.
In his life, Michael endured the loss of his parents and his older sister Jan. In his death, he will be remembered by his wife Clara; his children Caitlin (and son-in-law Rick), John-Michael, Luke, and Sam; his brother David and his sisters Andrea and Julie; his amigo Ioannis; and his staff, colleagues, family members, and friends across the country.
Michael’s services were held on May 28 with a wake at Swan Funeral Home, 825 Boston Post Rd. in Madison. A Mass of Christian burial was held on May 29 at St. George Parish, 33 Whitfield St. in Guilford. In lieu of flowers, his family suggests that donations in Dr. Parker’s memory be made to any of the following, VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice, 753 Boston Post Rd., Guilford, CT 06437; Madison A Better Chance, PO Box 371, Madison, CT 06443; or the Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Foundation, 3610 W. Market St., Ste. 110, Akron, OH 44333.
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