Carl Edward Parker was born February 23, 1950. He passed away unexpectedly on June 1, 2018, while doing what he loved: helping kids at the Shadyside Boys & Girls Club.
Known for his sense of humor, commitment to family, and passion for sports of all kinds, Carl devoted his life to public service. After graduating from Westinghouse High School, where he played on the basketball team, Carl attended the Community College of Allegheny County.
After 35 years of service, Carl retired as an electrician from the Bechtel Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in West Mifflin. By the time of his retirement from Bettis, Carl had accrued many performance awards, including one presented by Gen. Hyman G. Rickover, a four-star US Navy admiral, for his special service during the Three Mile Island crisis.
Carl joined the Shadyside Boys & Girls Club as a child and remained loyal to the organization throughout his lifetime. In the mid-1980s, he volunteered to coach his son’s baseball team. He was then offered a part time staff position and his coaching expanded to include baseball, basketball, flag football, soccer, and hockey. In 2008, after retirement from Bettis, Carl continued working at the Shadyside Boys and Girls Club in many capacities. His big grin and open heart inspired generations of youth. As mentor, advisor, companion, “partner in parenting,” and friend, Carl touched countless families. In recognition of his extraordinary service to the children of the community, Carl was awarded the Ziggy Kahn Award by the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame Western Pennsylvania in 2014.
A people person, Carl “would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it,” and his community service took many forms. Because of his rare blood type, he gave blood over 60 times. Carl also participated in United Way’s “Day of Caring” for many years, assisted with community events such as RunShadyside, and was a volunteer firefighter throughout his career at Bettis.
A lifelong athlete, Carl played in the Sunday Morning Warriors’ League at the YMCA in Homewood. Both of Carl’s children, Keisha Carleen and Carl II, share his name. Keisha, who also shares his birthday, is a self- described Daddy’s Girl. She and Carl enjoyed playing tennis, and fulfilled a fan’s dream when they traveled to New York to watch the US Open tennis tournament. Carl II also inherited Carl’s love of sports and spent many weekends fishing and golfing with his father. Football was a family affair. Although they competed fiercely in ESPN’s Streak for the Cash, they were united when cheering on their beloved Steelers.
It was in high school that Carl met the love of his life, Mary. They enjoyed a devoted, loving marriage that spanned four decades.
Carl was an opinionated, vocal and passionate Steelers fan who loved music, grilling, jokes, and socializing with friends at the Verona Giant Eagle. He will be remembered as a pillar in the Shadyside Boys and Girls Club and as a role model admired by friends, immediate, and extended family for his gentle nature, humor and commitment to helping others.
Carl is survived by his wife, Mary; his children Keisha Parker and Carl Parker, II; his grandchildren, Kiara Parker, Darrell Ivan Dawson III, and Izaiah Kauric; his siblings, Earlene Smith (Hubert), Norma Parker Griffin (Fred), Helen Thorne, and Robert Parker; his sisters-in-law, Carolyn Williams (George), and Phyllis McCallum (Steve), his son-in-law, Darrell Ivan Dawson, Jr. and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and the Shadyside Boys & Girls Club Family. Carl was preceded in death by his sister, Ann Naylor and brother, Stafford Parker