Ivan (Ike) Earl Parker, 82
ST. DAVID — Ivan (Ike) Earl Parker was born in California on August 26, 1937 and left this world on July 7, 2020. He died peacefully on the farm he called “the Ranch”, in St. David, where he had lived for the last four years of his life. He was in the company of friends and his faithful dog, Roo. Ike will be greatly missed by his many friends in the Benson, St. David and Willcox area which are too numerous to list, and by his dear friend, Dee Dee Haslam of Los Angeles.
Ike grew up near the San Jacinto mountains where he developed a love of nature and the outdoors at an early age. He left home as a teen and, when he was 17, lied about his age in order to enlist in the Army. He served a tour in Germany in a tank company before moving to a position in the brigade headquarters. After the military, Ike worked a variety of jobs before starting a career with the U.S. Forest Service. There, he worked as a forester, fire fighter, and eventually became the first regional ecologist in California. During that time, he also began producing stained glass which turned into a successful business. He left the Forest Service after 18 years with the agency to put all his energy into creating the beautiful stained glass windows and other works of art that he became quite well-known for. He was especially proud of the 3D piece he created for the State Capital in Sacramento. Ike enjoyed traveling abroad and visited Mexico often, a favorite winter destination of his.
An illness forced Ike to retire from his business and he moved to Arizona in about the year 2000. He later moved to Benson where he started volunteering with the Benson Area Food Bank in 2005. He served a term as president of that organization and, afterward, as the executive director. In 2016, he moved to a small farm in St. David where he was caretaker for a menagerie of animals who thrived on his love and attention. The time he spent serving the community at the food bank was very important to Ike and he continued volunteering there until just a few weeks before his death.
Special thanks is extended to Benson Hospital and to TMC Hospice for the excellent care that was provided during Ike’s last days. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.