Richard Alan ‘Dick’ Parker | Obituaries

May 20, 1931 — September 27, 2022

Richard “Dick” Alan Parker, of Moscow, passed away Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, at the age of 91. Dick was born in 1931, in Milwaukee, to Romana and Wayne Parker. He had two younger sisters, Joan and Nancy. His father explored the outdoors with Dick (hunting, canoing and building a small cabin) and his mother encouraged him to excel scholastically. Dick studied hard in school, especially enjoying the sciences; he also played football for five years and boxed for two years. He graduated valedictorian from Messmer High School in Milwaukee in 1949.

With his interests in forestry and wildlife, Dick studied at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, before attending a Summer Forestry Field Camp at Colorado State College and then transferred to Utah State Agricultural College in Logan, Utah. There, he met Theda Hull, his wife-to-be and lifelong companion of him. They both finished Bachelor of Science degrees, his de ella in wildlife management and hers in nursing in 1953. After receiving research awards, Dick completed a Master’s of Science in botany and zoology in 1954 and a Ph.D. in zoology with a minor in mathematical statistics in 1956, both at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

In September 1956, Dick began a faculty position, teaching and doing research at Washington State University in Pullman, where he specialized in mathematical modeling and ecology systems of freshwater lakes. He enjoyed sabbatical leaves to Oxford, United Kingdom (1968); Christ Church, New Zealand (1976, 1990); Liege, Belgium, and Corsica, France (1980); and Plymouth, United Kingdom (1983). He retired from WSU in 1995, as professor of zoology and computer science.

More important than anything else was his love for family. Dick met Theda at the roller skating rink in Logan, Utah. They were engaged in June 1953, in Zion National Park and were married in Milwaukee in September 1953. Dick and Theda raised seven children, the first two born in Madison, Wis., and the next five were born in Pullman. Dick built the family house on 70 acres north of Moscow in 1959. He began building the family cabin at Kootenay Lake, in British Columbia, in 1964. Family picnics, camping, hiking, fishing and hunting with Dad instilled a love of nature in all of his children from him.

After retirement, Dick and Theda traveled extensively around Europe and also visited Africa, Central America and South America. Their fondest travels were to Austria, where they felt at home. They loved the culture, the food, the music, hiking the hills and making friends during their repeated visits to favorite small alpine villages. Thanks to Dick’s encouragement and support from him, his children from him also share his love for travel.

Over the years, Dick and Theda enjoyed downhill and cross-country skiing, golf, and driving on back country roads. Dick liked the challenge of repairing and maintaining vehicles, and every winter he looked forward to plowing snow with his 14,000-pound bulldozer.

Dick leaves behind Theda, his best friend and beloved wife of 69 years; and his seven children, Kathy Parker (Mike Gillingham), of Prince George, British Columbia, Gina Young (Sam), of Moscow, Doug Parker (Raydene), of Corvallis, Mont., Steve Parker (Deb), of Issaquah, Wash ., Sharon Hendricks (Mark), of Shelton, Wash., Linda Bushy (Mike), of Cashmere, Wash., and Greg Parker (Keri), of Orofino. He is also survived by his sister, Joan, 16 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.

The family will be having a private memorial service. For online condolences and sharing memories, please visit


Leave a Comment