Stepson of Atlanta Inquirer’s Hal Lamar Succumbs
Final Rites for Atlanta’s Tracy Parker
… ”I’m just a nobody trying to tell everybody about somebody who can save anybody”… Williams Brothers – Malaco Records.
The 1985 traditional gospel single was a favorite of Tracy Derwin Parker. But his mother, siblings, family and close friends would take serious issue describing the longtime Louisiana resident as a “nobody.”
Parker, born in the city of Independence, Louisiana but raised in Hammond Louisiana was indeed “somebody.” Just ask any of his of his family or friends who attended a memorial celebration of his life at New Day Missionary Baptist Church here Saturday November 27th. Formal homegoing services for Mr. Parker, who transitioned November 4th, were held in Atlanta, his adopted hometown. He moved there in late 2010 to live with his mother Patsy Collier and be closer to his three living siblings Hewey, Stacey Parker, and Sabrina Parker-Crowder (Sylvester), all born, raised, and partly educated in Hammond and currently residing in Atlanta. “He really loved his family and the Lord,” said Patsy to the assemblage at New Day. “In his final days of life, he told me he didn’t want to leave his family but he had heard from the Creator that his time was up.”
Comments about the 54-year-old Parker from friends and family Saturday flip-flopped from humorous to serious to sacred and was not devoid of surprises. Edawa Anderson, a brother-in-law married to Tracy’s blood aunt Ella Collier-Anderson, burst into a gospel-laced spiritual. “I wanna go where the thunder doesn’t roar and the rains don’t go,” Anderson sang in his deep contralto that left his bride and other in-laws speechless. “I didn’t even know he could sing like that,” exclaimed wife Ella. Rachel Dorothy, Tracy’s aunt and godmother, remembers her nephew as an early-riser (with the roosters) who “went to sleep with the chickens.” Nathaniel Williams, a cousin of Tracy’s who lived with him when both were enrolled in Job Corps training in Denver, Colorado, remembers when the two watched out for one another. “He was strong, the best. He was always smiling, never complaining about anything. I hate so much he can’t be with me now.”
Life was no snap for Tracy. He fought many demons, including alcoholism and pulmonary sarcoidosis, an incurable lung disease that contributed to the death of actor-comedian Bernie Mac in 2008.
“In the biblical book of Job, it talks about a man born of a woman lives but a few days,” explained Tracy’s uncle, a minister and pastor from Tulsa, Oklahoma and a native and former resident of Hammond. “But how did Tracy use those few days,” asked. “He became a chef, a great roller-skater and a fine basketball player. Yes, he became an alcoholic but had a praying mother who practiced tough love. He overcame that problem in his few days. In those few days, he also gave his life to Jesus.” Collier then turned to the congregants at New Day which included many young people and challenged them. “What are you doing in your few days?”
Reverend Ernest Collier, a Hammond native and Tracy’s uncle, suggested a fund be established by the family to help toward finding a cure for the disease.
Last updated on December 2, 2021