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Alton Daniel Parker, born December 18, 1921 in Mexia, Texas, passed at Benefis Westview on June 8, 2018 surrounded by his family.
He was stationed at East Army Base (now Malmstrom AFB) in Great Falls during WWII, serving as a medic in the Army Air Corp . Here he met and married Esther Rooney in 1943. Al quickly fell in love with Montana and the outdoor lifestyle it offered. At the end of the War, Montana became his home and Esther’s extended family quickly became his. The Rooney family ranch on the Ross Fork provided special time with family and many memories.
Al built their home on the Westside in 1953, where he and Esther raised their children, Gary, Karen and Pat, and he lived until the mid-April of this year. The roses planted along the house were admired by many, the double delights were his favorite. Although cats weren’t allowed when the kids were young, he and Esther loved their big white cat, Monkey, who had one blue and one green eye. His black labs remained constant companions throughout his life.
He enjoyed riding horses, especially in the mountains with his family. He was an accomplished fly fisherman, tying his own flies and patience to stay with it. Bird season found his dogs Cloudy, Penny, Dusty, Stormy, Windy and Rainy on the scent of pheasant, grouse, duck or geese. Big game season brought the hunt for deer and elk, maybe sneaking in a sheep, goat or moose if you were lucky enough in the draw. The hunting trips with Gary and Pat were something he always treasured. In his later years, he shared precious time bird hunting and more than anything discussing hunting tales with his grandson Shane. He loved his grandkids and great grandkids, loved when they visited and enjoyed hearing all about them.
Al retired from the International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades, taking great pride in his painting, wall-papering and drywall work on many homes and buildings across Montana. Following retirement, his woodworking hobby turned out stools, cedar chests, toy boxes, toys, and other beautiful pieces of master workmanship. The bed he made Karen is among the most treasured, along with the stories and laughter the two shared in his later years.
Al was preceded in death by his wife of 66 years, Esther Parker, son Gary Parker, parents Willis and Mary Parker, brother Claude and sisters Ethel and Alice.
He is survived by daughter Karen (Dan) Griffin, son Patrick (Becky) Parker and daughter-in-law Cathy Parker. Grandchildren Roni (Mike) Baker, Gerri Campbell, Shad (Holly) Griffin, Shane (Staci) Griffin, Jami Malone, Mandy (Cliff) Garness, Kelly (Scott) Weinberger, and Cody (Sara) Parker. Great grandchildren Andee and Adam Baker; Adessa and Parker Campbell; Emma and Grace Griffin; Hunter and Brooklyn Griffin; Waric and Quin Cohen; Jake and Kadin Garness; Caitlin and Payton Parker.
The family would like to give a very special thank you to Tyler Gunderson for his special, beyond-the-call-of-duty love and care of Al. Gratitude is also extended to the staff at Benefis Westview and to Benefis Peace Hospice, where we suggest memorial donations.
Viewing is June 13, 5:00 to 8:00 at Croxfords. Memorial Service is June 14, 10:00, Hillcrest Lawn Memorial followed by burial at Mount Olivet Cemetery and reception at Black Eagle Community Center.