Richard John “Dick” Parker, 65, passed away unexpected­ly March 8, 2021, at his home in Haines City, Fla.

He was born Nov. 18, 1955, in DeKalb, Ill., to Jim and MaryLou Parker.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and his grandparents, J.A. and Maryette Spickerman, and Harold and Hazel Parker.

Dick attended Northern Illinois University Laboratory School grades K-8 and graduated from DeKalb High School in 1973.

He enjoyed electric trains, raising guinea pigs, model rockets, engines, sports and music.

In 1970, he starred as Stanley Squirm in a film produced for the World Teenage Movie Awards Contest.

A frequent summer visitor to Butternut Lake in the Nicolet National Forest, he was a member of the first generation of the Eagle River Chain Skimmers Water­ski Team which won the Wisconsin State Water Ski Show Championship in 1976. He later directed professional water ski shows in Pennsylvania and California.

At a young age Dick developed a passion for photography. In his early 20s he moved to Winter Haven, Fla., where he earned an associate degree in photography from Polk Community College.

He was employed as a photojournalist by the Winter Haven Herald and the Valley Ridge News.

In Florida he married Rhonda Weeks and they had three children, Daniel Parker (Lisa) of Webster, Fla., Aimee Brito (Sam) of Palm Coast, Fla., and Jason Parker (Jessica) of Auburndale, Fla. He and his young family shared the Good News of Jesus Christ in their daily lives.

Dick became a photographer for United Church Directories, then a salesman, and was eventually promoted to regional manager for United/Lifetouch Inc.

Dick took great pride in his children’s activities, interests, and accomplishments. He loved watching their musical performances and relished the few opportunities he had to accompany them on drums.

He was coach of his kids’ Little League team and worked with his players to bring even the less skilled up to a competitive level. Other coaches were chagrined to lose to Dick’s team because he played his entire bench and fielded an ace pitcher, daughter Aimee.

He was known for his quick wit, charismatic personality, humorous story-telling and compassion for others.

Richard is survived by his brother, David Parker (Lynn) of Three Lakes, Wis.; his sister, Andrea Simpson (Robert) of Cincinnati, Ohio; grandchildren, GracieLou and Elijah Weed of Palm Coast; close friend, Brenda Bittner of Davenport, Fla.; and many nieces and nephews.

A celebration of his life took place in Lake Alfred, Fla., March 21, 2021. A second memorial will be held at the waterski park on Lake Pleasant, Conover, Wis., Friday, July 30, 2021, at 5 p.m.

Memorial gifts may be sent to the Chain Skimmers Water Ski Team, P.O. Box 214, Eagle River, WI, 54521.