CAO Head Start director dies

PDT Sports Report

April 1, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

Mary Parker’s life was about the care and education of children. Mary Parker’s life was about rescuing dogs. Mary Parker’s life was about service to the community.

Parker, 51, of Portsmouth, director of the Community Action Organization’s Head Start program, died Thursday at Riverside Methodist Hospital.

“Mary’s loss is not just to our agency, but the community as well,” CAO Executive Director Bill Thacker said. “She was a great person. Children were always uppermost in her mind. She spent her entire adult life working for the betterment of children. She had worked at (Scioto County) Children Services prior to coming to work for us at Head Start as a caseworker.”

Thacker said her employment went deeper than just a job.

“Mary was not only a great employee, she was a good friend to many of us, myself included,” Thacker said.

Thacker said the CAO Head Start program, under Parker’s stewardship, has always received high marks in evaluations by funding sources and others.

“One of the things that Mary was, she was a great animal lover,” Thacker said. “She always served as a foster person for animals from various shelters pending adoption of those animals. I think at the time of her death, she had four, maybe five, dogs at home. That was her big passion.”

Parker had requested in lieu of flowers that donations be made to the Southern Ohio All Breeds Dog Club (SOABDC), 1033 Cramer Road, Lucasville, Ohio, 45648.

Funeral services were conducted Monday at Erwin-Dodson-Allen Funeral Home in Minford with Rev. Clarence Parker officiating.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.