In Memory of

Bob

Parker

Obituary for Bob Parker

Bob Parker
March 3, 1932 - March 20, 2024

God’s faithful servant, Robert Raymond Parker Jr., (known as Bob, Bobby, Daddy, GrandDaddy Bob, Mufundisi One Way, and Mr. Bob to those who were loved and served by him), died at home, with loving family, in Anderson, SC, on March 20, 2024.

Bobby was born on March 3, 1932, in Honea Path, SC, to Raymond and Mae Parker.

He graduated from Honea Path High School and Erskine College. Those early years in Honea Path and Due West, at First Baptist Church of Honea Path and Barker’s Creek Baptist Church, were important to his spiritual formation and to inspiring a strong work ethic, love for sports, and a gusto for life.

Bob was stationed at Ray Barracks in Friedberg, Germany. He served in the dispensary at the Army’s 13th Armored Infantry Battalion, 3d Armored Division (Spearhead) for 2 years.

After returning to South Carolina, Bob taught and coached at Tamassee DAR School. Then he earned his Masters in Education from Furman University while serving as principal of Ebinport Elementary in Rock Hill, SC. During that time, he and his late wife, Mary, were active members at Oakland Baptist Church, and believed God was calling them into missionary service. Following studies at Southern Seminary, Bob and Mary served as missionaries for 18 months in Rhodesia, Africa, before her death.

After Bob re-married, he and Pam served as missionaries in Rhodesia and Zimbabwe until retirement from the International Mission Board in 1998. During the first half of his 30 years in Africa, he served as Principal for Sanyati Baptist High School and 23 primary schools. Consequently, his passion for sharing Jesus as Savior led him to church planting. He became known throughout Zimbabwe as “Mufundisi One Way”; he started One Way Clubs in schools, planted churches, and discipled believers throughout Sanyati, Gokwe, Makonde, Chinhoyi, Karoi, and Kariba. During that time he supported the pastors and believers of Sanyati and Chinhoyi Baptist Churches as a faithful member.

During a short period of leave from Zimbabwe, Bob served as Associate Pastor and Director of Activities at New Prospect Baptist Church in Anderson, SC, where he and Pam made many lifelong friends.

Bob served and shared about a saving relationship with Jesus wherever he went. He never met a stranger, and would easily transition conversations to the status of someone’s spiritual condition, concluding with an invitation to visit his local church. After he retired from Zimbabwe, he served as a deacon and sang in the choir at Derbyshire Baptist Church in Richmond, VA. When he and Pam moved to SC he served at North Anderson Baptist Church as deacon and choir member, taught evangelism classes, and worked with Helping Hands, a ministry to senior adults. He led Bible studies for the Anderson Fire Department. He served the Anderson homeless by sharing meals and fellowship with them, and cutting hair. He joined annual mission teams who served in Jenkins, KY and Baltimore, MD. He was also involved at Anderson University with the International Student Organization and the Christian Ministry Foundation. Because of his continued passion to serve and share Jesus faithfully till the end, “Mr. Bob” most recently served as a member of the leadership team and a deacon of a new church plant, Mosaic Church of Anderson.

Children brought a smile to Bob’s face and a booming laugh to his lips. His energy and gusto for life, coupled with a sincere, caring interest attracted children to him. He worked with children and young adults as a teacher and administrator in schools, as a coach and lifeguard, as a discipler, RA leader, father, grandfather and friend. It was not uncommon to see his “shamwaris” (little friends) crowded around him wherever he went in Zimbabwe, and his “little buddies” giving him hugs and high-fives in churches in the US. Even when he was visiting North Africa, kids gathered around him, where he was teaching them about Jesus, the One Way, even though he didn’t speak Arabic!

His childlike love for God and for life meant he’d always have his Bible, swim suit, and tennis racquet nearby. He instilled his love for God and for activity in his children and grandchildren who are equally active in serving, and enjoy activities like their Daddy and GrandDaddy Bob, on the tennis courts, fishing, hunting, gardening, playing carroms, playing pranks, and telling jokes. He was an avid Clemson Tiger fan, and it was “a good year when the Tigers were winning.” But no one can match his passion for riding motorcycles and certainly no one will come close to matching any of his unforgettable unique sayings!

Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Mae Parker, and his first wife, Mary Stroup Parker.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Pamela Kelley Parker, his six children, Fran Young, Bill Parker, Beth Arnold (Bill), Ben Parker (Leslie), Katie Lewis (Dale), Timothy Parker (Amanda), brothers Marshall Parker and Ron Parker (Dorothy), 14 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and special friends who became like family: Stephen and Love Ojo (2 children), and Kevin and Jenny McMahan (4 children).

Services will be held at The Standard Cremation & Funeral Center in Anderson, SC, on Sunday, March 24, 2024, at 2:30 PM. Dr. Tim McKnight and Rev. Bill Rigsby will officiate.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: International Mission Board (Richmond, VA)
https://www.imb.org/generosity/give-now/ or Anderson University Christian Ministry Foundation (Anderson, SC)
https://andersonuniversity.edu/giving-to-the-christian-ministry-foundation/ or a charity of your choice.

The Standard Cremation & Funeral Center is serving the family and a message of condolence may be sent by visiting www.standardfuneralcenter.com.