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DECATUR -- Robert James Parker, formerly of Decatur, died on August 4, 2004 after a brief illness at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. He was 79 years old.

Born November 25, 1925 in Decatur, Bob was the only son of Matthew James Parker and his wife, Anna Pauline Hertrich Parker. His only sibling, Betty Joann Parker, was born on August 27, 1931.

Mr. Parker was a lifelong employee of the Illinois Central Railroad, serving as general yardmaster of the Decatur yards and as trainmaster with the Illinois and St. Louis divisions, before finishing his career as a safety officer in the company’s Chicago headquarters.

A 1943 graduate of St. Teresa High School, Bob distinguished himself on the football gridiron, earning accolades—and the nickname “Bulldog” from coaches and fellow players—for his fierce tenacity on the field.

After graduation, Bob joined the U.S. Merchant Marines before he transferred to the U.S. Navy. He served the duration of the Second World War at United States Pacific Fleet Command Headquarters, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Upon his discharge from the Navy, Bob returned to Decatur, where he began his railroad career and married the love of his life, Edna Louise Page. They celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary four months before Bob’s passing. Edna rejoined her husband in eternity upon her death on June 7, 2018.

Besides his wife and five children, Lawrence Gregory Parker, Jayne Kay Vale, Judith Gay Carrancho, Lance Page Parker, and James Douglas Parker, Bob was survived by dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Joint graveside interment services for Bob and Edna Parker will be held at 2:00 pm Friday, September 21, 2018 at Graceland-Fairlawn Cemetery.

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