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William T. Parker

Member From: 1976 - 1979

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  • Birth Date: August 29, 1928 Birth Place:Norfolk, VA
  • Death Date: January 25, 2014
  • Gender: Male Race: Caucasian
  • Spouse: Vivian Old (married August 20, 1955)
  • Children: Cheril
  • Religion:
  • Education: Great Bridge High School, Norfolk Naval Shipyard Apprentice School
  • Military Service: USAF (1950-52)
  • Occupation/Profession: President (Chesapeake Memorial Gardens, Inc.)
  • Memberships/Affiliations: Methodist Church Great Bridge Masonic Lodge 257
  • Bio: He was one of seven children and was born in Norfolk County on August 29, 1928 to Thomas William and Etta Wells Parker. He was a 1945 graduate of Great Bridge High School and attended the Naval Yard Apprentice School. After honorably serving in the United States Air Force, Parker returned home, accepted a position with Norfolk Newspapers, and on August 20, 1955, he married Vivian Old.

    Bill Parker was industrious and hardworking. At one time he even sold sewing machines to supplement his income. In 1965, a group of friends and business professionals offered him the opportunity to join with them to develop a project known as Chesapeake Memorial Gardens. With the support and encouragement of family and friends, he was a success in the cemetery business and his skills in development soon earned him the trust of Chesapeake's leading businessmen and community leaders for a number of other key developments in the city.

    Parker leaves an extensive legacy of real estate development and business success throughout Chesapeake and in the Great Bridge area particularly. Many of the residential neighborhoods, shopping centers, and commercial developments bear the imprint of his foresight.

    In the mid 1970's, Parker achieved his high school ambition to become an aviator. He took flight lessons from his good friend, John Lawrence. Both Parker and Lawrence would soon join forces to form a partnership that not only ran the Chesapeake Airport but also provided cargo and transportation services with their own private company, Mideastern Airways.

    In 1976, with the support of some of Chesapeake's most influential political leaders, Parker began his successful political career in the Virginia House of Delegates until 1979 and shortly thereafter, in the Virginia State Senate until 1988.

    Parker was a successful and respected legislator. He worked on a number of legislative bills to benefit not only his constituency in Chesapeake but also voters throughout Virginia. Parker is credited with brokering a lucrative deal for Chesapeake to establish the site for the Chesapeake Jubilee and for laying the groundwork behind the scenes for the Chesapeake Expressway. The Chesapeake Regional Medical Center now offers a maternity center thanks to Senator Parker's skillful intervention and the Bower's Hill-Belleville Connector Project took Parker to our nation's capitol to help lobby in its behalf. Today, that project conveniently connects Chesapeake and other areas with easy access to the Monitor Merrimac Bridge.

    In his younger years, Parker enjoyed hunting, fishing, flying, and golf. His later years were spent attending his grandson Parker's ball games and enjoying special times with his family.

    During an outstanding career of dedicated public service, William T. Parker served as Chairman of the Hampton Roads Sanitation Commission, Chairman of the Chesapeake Zoning Appeals Board and in 1982, he received his community's highest and most prestigious honor by being named First Citizen of Chesapeake.

    He was a member of Great Bridge United Methodist Church, Great Bridge Masonic Lodge No. 257, Shriners International, Khedive Shriners in Chesapeake, Chesapeake Shrine Club, and American Legion Post 280.

  • Other Notable Service and/or Elected Offices: Senate of Virginia (1980-1988 )
Session District District Number Party Leadership Committees
1976-1977 City of Chesapeake 38 Democrat Militia and Police
Nominations and Confirmations
Roads and Internal Navigation
1978 City of Chesapeake 38 Democrat Education
1979 City of Chesapeake 38 Democrat Education

*The information within this interactive and searchable application has been researched extensively by the House Clerk’s Office. As with any historical records of this age and breadth, there may be discrepancies and/or inconsistencies within records obtained from a variety of credible sources. Any feedback is encouraged at history@house.virginia.gov.

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