Winona M. “Billie” Parker, 87, died November 29, 2015, at Park Place of Elmhurst in Elmhurst, Illinois. She was born February 15, 1928, in Omaha, Nebraska, the daughter of Winona Frances (Gray) and Joseph Albert.
Billie came to Goodland in 1946 when her father Joe moved the family to Goodland, so that he could manage the old Dyatt Ranch on the Smoky Hill River, then owned by her Uncle Carl and Aunt Juanita Smith. The school year was spent studying English Literature at Loretto Heights College in Denver, Colorado, and summers were spent weighing-in wheat trucks on the scale at her Uncle Carl’s elevator on old highway 24, alongside the Rock Island tracks on the east side of Goodland.
She and Bob Parker began dating after Bob took her for a 100-mile-per-hour ride in his 1942 Pontiac Silver Streak. They were married March 21, 1951, at the Catholic Cathedral in Lincoln, Nebraska, just before he entered the Air Force. In 1954, she accompanied him on an eighteen month assignment to Okinawa, the first of many overseas experiences they would have.
Bob’s first post-military employer was Ford Motor Company at its’ headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan in 1955. Billie worked in the Mercury Division of Ford until their first son Greg was born in 1956. Their second son Jeff was born in 1963. In 1964, Ford sent the family of four to England for four years, where Bob was part of a team charged with improving the supply-chain operations of a new tractor manufacturing plant. They took advantage of this period to explore much of Europe and a bit of North Africa, especially Morocco.
In 1972, the family moved to Chicago, where Bob joined International Harvester Company. When Bob left International Harvester in 1981, he and Billie formed Parker Management, Ltd., and spent twenty-plus years applying their joint experience toward helping complex companies such as Motorola, Amoco Oil, Harley-Davidson, and Proctor & Gamble in improving their manufacturing supply activities. Billie organized the teams for each assignment, arranged all the travel, handled all finances, and worked directly with client personnel alongside Bob. She also insisted that each team spend a few days extra at interesting places such as Hong Kong, Beijing, and Singapore to experience the local culture and learn more about the customs and practices which complicate the process of doing business with that culture. Billie loved searching for paintings, sculptures, and the various crafts which could decorate her home with reminders of the cultural experiences shared over sixty-four years of their happy, adventurous, and productive lives together.
Preceding her in death were her parents Winnie and Joe Albert and her brother Don Albert.
Surviving family includes her husband Robert C. Parker of Elmhurst, Illinois; two sons Gregory C. Parker and his wife Amy; Jeffrey C. Parker and his wife Sharon; four grandsons Eric, Drew, Zachary, and Ian.
The memorial service will be Saturday, April 9, at 2:00 PM MT, at Koons Chapel in Goodland, with Father Norbert Dlabal presiding. Inurnment will follow in the Goodland Cemetery.
Friends may share their respects one hour prior to the service.
Memorials may be designated to Sherman County Historical Society, and may be left at the service or mailed to Koons Funeral Home, 211 N. Main, Goodland, KS 67735-1555.
Online condolences: www.koonsfuneralhome.com