Born: 1933, Rockingham, VT
Attended public schools in Newton, Massachusetts.
After serving as Assistant Professor of Botany at U.C.L.A. (1961-65) and Associate Professor of Botany at Washington University in St. Louis (1965-69), he joined the Biology Department at Virginia Tech as Professor of Botany and Microbiology in 1969.
At Virginia Tech, for 20 years, Parker's research and that of his students covered studies of lakes and chemical glaciology in Antarctica, during which Parker Mesa in the dry valleys of Southern Victorialand was named in his honor. Less remote were his studies of vitamins in rainwater, the bubble burst/jet droplet mechanism, the epidemiology of nontuberculous mycobacteria , and the geology, origin and biology of nearby Mountain Lake. Parker taught courses in marine biology, algae, and algal ecology. He organized and coordinated the first Botany Seminar, which met nearly every Friday during the academic year from 1970-2003. The seminar's success led to the establishment of the Biology Departmental Seminar, which Parker coordinated from 1991-2003.
From 1969-70, he was President of the Phycological Society of America and in 1970 he was awarded the Darbaker Prize for outstanding research in Algae. In 1979, Parker was awarded the Antarctic Service Medal by the National Science Foundation. In 2000, he received the outstanding teacher award from the Biology Department.
He retired in 2002, but continued to organize two seminars [2002-2003]. Parker remains active writing papers on Mountain Lake and conducting research on use of algal feeds for rearing freshwater mussels, as well as co-chair of the OWLS [Older, Wiser, Learned, Scientists Biology Faculty emeritii]. He is also active in the Phycological Society of America as curator of the PSA Archives, which was established by Parker in the 1970's and is housed in the Special Collections at Virginia Tech.