“Two dates bookend my life – Dec. 7, 1941, and Dec. 7, 2014,” said Dorothy Parker. In 1941, her father was a military doctor stationed at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. The second date she mentioned is when her beloved husband of 60 years passed away.
Parker vividly remembers Pearl Harbor and the preceding months that followed. Shortly after the attack, military dependents were sent home to the mainland. Her father remained in Hawaii for the duration of the war.
The family settled in Ft. Worth, Texas. In 1952, Parker graduated high school and received a full scholarship to Texas Christian University. Two years later, in 1954, she married Billy Y. Parker, who was a veterinary doctor with a degree from Texas A&M University. Around the same time, she paused her college education to support her husband and raise a family.
In the early 1970s, Parker returned to TCU and earned a nursing degree. To further her education, she entered graduate school specializing in clinical nursing. While obtaining her master’s degree, she was offered a substitute teaching position and assigned clinical nursing students.
“I enjoyed my career very much and enjoyed teaching students!” Parker said. Upon receiving her masters, she accepted a teaching position at Tarrant County Community College. She taught clinical nursing for 20 years before retiring in 1997 as an associate professor.
During her tenure, Parker wrote grants for technology funding to receive computers for her students. The community college was one of the first schools to receive computers for teaching purposes. She also started the first nursing computer lab to educate nurses on the latest technology.
“I found the new computers and technology exciting!” she shared.
Parker was a member of the American Nursing Association and often traveled overseas with volunteer groups to educate nurses. One of the trips, with People to People, took her to Beijing, China, and Hong Kong.
“Beijing was amazing in some ways, very different and then in other ways similar to home,” she said. “During the Chinese Nursing Association’s medical conference, the final meeting was a dinner hosted in the Great Hall of the People. It was an amazing experience.”
While in China, she had the opportunity to walk along the Great Wall of China and visit famous Chinese leaders' tombs.
Her volunteer work took her to Eastern Europe, behind the Iron Curtain, and the U.S.S.R. While teaching in Czechoslovakia, she had tea with United States Ambassador Shirley Temple Black.
Parker was born in 1934 and has three adult children, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She has called The Vantage at City View home for almost three years.
Parker contributes many of her life’s blessings to her faith in God.
“I’ve lived an incredible life and am so blessed. When we give love and respond in love, we receive love in return,” she shared. From the heart, she shares her love with family, friends, fellow community residents and staff.