DURHAM — Arona McDougald Parker of Durham, North Carolina, passed away peacefully at the age of 89 on July 20, 2013 at the Jefferson Manor in Louisville, Kentucky. Up until her brief battle with cancer she lived independently at Atria Springdale in Louisville, Kentucky, where her motto was to perform a good deed each day. She became an Atria Ambassador, a resident everyone loved and counted on for her unfailing good humor and her active participation in the life of her community.
She was born on May 14, 1924, the daughter of Richard Lewis McDougald, the President of the Mechanics and Farmer Bank, and Mattie Louise Moore. Her grandfather was Dr. Aaron McDuffie Moore, a founder of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company and her beloved grandmother was Sarah McCotta "Pom" Moore. Her loving stepmother and Nana to her children and nieces and nephews was Dorothy Everett McDougald who predeceased her. She was a graduate of Palmer Memorial Institute, North Carolina Central University, and Columbia University, where she received her Masters in Mathematics and Physics. In 1947 she married "Yip" Judson Garrett Parker and they had three children: Judson Garrett Parker Jr., Gwendolyn McDougald Parker, and Anthony Lewis Copeland-Parker.
A life long educator, she taught at NCC, Washington Jefferson Middle School, and Mt. Vernon High School. With her sister Virginia she helped create a church based pre-school enrichment program and she tutored aspiring college bound students in a weekend tutoring program. After 31 years of service as an educator, she retired as the Assistant Principal of Mt. Vernon High School. She was a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
Mrs. Parker had an adventurous spirit and she traveled widely, from the Greek Isles, to Dubrovnik, to Zimbabwe. She visited dozens of Caribbean islands, loved sailing and house-boating with her sons from Maine to Kentucky, spent many a happy summer clamming with her sisters Virginia and Dorothy in Long Island, and wrangling her grandchildren on her many visits to Cape Cod. In her retirement she relished her role as the traveling grandmother, happiest at the home of one of her children where she would help the grands with their homework, travel to their soccer and lacrosse games, or take each grandchild on the cruises that became a rite of passage.
She is survived by her three children; nine grandchildren: Coleman Peters Parker, Aaron Lewis Copeland Parker, Katherine Peters Parker, Shawn Anthony Copeland Parker, Mariah Lillian Copeland Parker, Lena McDougald Parker-Duncan, Aduei Riak, Adut Ayuel, and Anna Nguyen; one great grandchild: Whitaker Embriano Parker; her brother, Douglas Woodson; her daughters in law, Helen Frame Peters, Joan West Duncan and Catherine E. Popp; her former daughter in law, Mattie Copeland-Parker; many loving nieces and nephews and cousins, cherished friends, and the young people she took into her heart who also called her Nana. Her beloved sisters, Virginia and Dorothy predeceased her and we are sure they are once more enjoying their much-loved afternoon coffee klatch.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to an educational scholarship to be established in her memory and the memory of her sisters, in care of:
133 South Street
Needham, MA 02492.
Funeral service were held Friday, July 26, 2013 at noon at White Rock Baptist Church. Family visitation 11 to 12. Interment was at Beechwood Cemetery.
Arrangements by Fisher Funeral Parlor, 3137 Fayetteville St., Durham, NC 27707.