J. Edgar ‘Punch’ Parker, 84, of Elizabeth City died on Saturday, September 22, 2007 at Albemarle Hospital. Punch was born on December 20, 1922 in Pasquotank County, North Carolina to Robert Linwood and Louisa Jennings Parker. He was the youngest of 3 children.
Punch graduated from Central High School in 1941. He played the base drum in the high school band and was the catcher on the baseball team.
On August 6, 1943 Punch joined the United States Marine Corps. He completed basic training in Parris Island, SC and The Field Music School then was shipped to San Diego Marine Base as the company bugler. He trained briefly on Guadalcanal before heading to Okinawa. As a member of the 6th Marine Expeditionary Division he was one of only 60 original members of his company of 250 Marines to survive The Battle of Sugar Loaf Hill. From Okinawa he traveled to Guam in route to Tsing-Tao and Peking. While in China, Punch witnessed the surrender of the Japanese to Chaing Kai-shek. Punch’s tour of duty ended in Tokyo in February 1946–5 months after the end of World War II.
After the war Punch returned to Elizabeth City and joined the family business, R. L. Parker Packing Company, a country store and wholesale meat packing plant. Parker’s Store was a cornerstone of the community, serving as a gathering place as well as the Mount Herman Township Precinct Poling Center. Progress and the demise of the country store lead Punch to open Parker’s Trading Post. For over 30 years Punch flourished as an aficionado of military history, collectible antiques, and glorified junk.
Punch fell in love and married his sweetheart Mazie Vereen on June 21, 1950. They were blessed with 57 years of marriage, four sons and seven grandchildren. The Parkers have been faithful members of Corinth Baptist Church. He served as Superintendent of the Sunday School for over 30 years and has been a deacon in the church since the 1950’s. He was a member of the Men’s Bible Class and was a member of the Pasquotank Ruritan club for many years.
In 1963 Punch, along with his 11 year-old son Eddie, joined local Boy Scout Troop 162. Over the next 15 years Punch presided over the troop as Scout Master, assisting many young men, including all four of his sons, to attain the prestigious Eagle Scout Award. As his own sons aged out of scouting Punch continued to be an instrumental member of the scouting community in the Albemarle area, acting as a District Chairman and, until recently, chairman of the local Eagle Scout Review board.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Maize Parker of Elizabeth City, sons Ed Parker and wife Vicki of Warner-Robbins, GA, Herb Parker and wife Yvette of James Island, SC, Michael Parker and wife Ann Kluttz of Concord, NC, David Parker and wife Cindi of Raleigh, NC. Punch is the proud Papaw of seven grandchildren: Lindsay, Katie, Susan, Alex, Tyler, Bena, and Seven.
Survives also include a nephew, Bobby Saunders and wife Terry, and great niece Lane Saunders Byrd. Pall Bearers will include formers members of Boy Scout Troop 162.
Punch was preceded in death by his parents, a sister, Catherine Parker Saunders Spence, and brother, Robert L. Parker, Jr. He will be remembered
fondly for his charming sense of humor, his love of military history, his devotion to church and community, his dedication to The Boy Scouts and all the young men
who benefited from it, as a loving husband, the best dad and papaw ever, a good friend, and a truly honest man.
The Parker family will receive friends on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 from 7:00 to 8:30pm at Twiford’s Funeral Home in Elizabeth City. A service commemorating the life of Punch Parker, officiated by Rev. David Turner, will be help at Corinth Baptist Church on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 at 11:00am. Burial with military honors will follow in the New Hollywood Cemetery. Twiford Funeral Home, 405 E. Church Street, Elizabeth City, NC is assisting the Parker family. To sign the online guest register, please visit www.twifordfh.com.