WILLISTON – Denis R. Parker, 75, passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 4, after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Born on February 25, 1945, in Woonsocket, R.I., Denis grew up in Woodbury and Hardwick, with his mother, Georgette Parker and adoptive father Raymond Parker. Denis grew up living the life of a Vermont farmer and attending both Woodbury Elementary School and Hardwick Academy.
From 1965 to 1969, Denis dutifully served his country in the United States Coast Guard, finishing his duty on the USCGC Duane, and earning the Vietnam Service Medal and Bronze Star. While in the Coast Guard, Denis was trained in telecommunications and continued to work in this trade for three decades as a telephone repairman for the phone company, which went by many names over his years of service, from New England Telephone to Verizon.
Denis married Ilene Etta McKinstry on May 22, 1971. The couple built their own home on a plot of farmland in Woodbury near Denis’ childhood home, where they lived and raised two sons, Jonathan and Douglas, until moving to Williston in 2013.
Over the years, Denis coached his sons’ baseball teams, served on the Mountain Tamers Snowmobile Club, worked with the Woodbury Conservation Commission, and volunteered as a driver for the Hardwick Rescue Squad. He also enjoyed helping at St. Norbert’s Church doing repairs and helping at funeral dinners. Later, during their retirement years, Denis drove countless miles in the couples’ motorhome during the cold Vermont winters to warmer and more sunny destinations such as New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Georgia, and Florida. Eventually, the couple found a Florida home that they returned to year after year in New Smyrna Beach. During their Florida winters, Denis frequented the ocean he loved, exploring the beach for sand dollars and other seaside treasures. He also served his New Smyrna community at the local soup kitchen.
Denis was an important man to the many who called him husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, neighbor and friend. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Ilene Parker of Williston; his son Jonathan Parker, daughter-in-law Carolyn Kuranz, and grandchildren Nina and Elliot of Ann Arbor, Mich.; his son Douglas Parker, daughter-in-law Julie (Fradette) Parker, and grandsons Nicholas and Jaden of St. George; his brother Michael Parker and his partner, Virginia Garrison, of Hardwick; and his stepsister Shirley McGeoghegan of Lewiston, Idaho. He is predeceased by parents, Georgette (Nadeau) and Raymond Parker of Hardwick; sister, Yvette (Parker) Collum of Woodbury; stepbrother Raymond “Charlie” Parker of New Jersey, and stepsister Patricia Anair of Barre.
Due to COVID, there will be no service until spring of 2021, but please go to denis-robert-parker.forevermissed.com to share stories and make contributions in tribute to Denis’ memory. Arrangements will be under the direction of des Groseilliers Funeral Home, Church Street, Hardwick.