Yale '62 - Obituaries - Thomas G. Parker

Thomas G. Parker

Born: February 26, 1940
Died: July 15, 1993

Tom was born on February 26, 1940 in St Louis, MO. He attended Deerfield Academy before joining the Yale Class of 1962. He was on the five year plan and remained for an additional year to gain additional engineering and computer sciences classes.

Tom was a member of Silliman. His very active undergraduate career included Fence Club, the Yale Glee Club, the O's and B's and Freshman swimming as well as NROTC from whence he entered active duty with the Navy.

He was in the Navy for two years after Yale. Classmate Tom Williamson writes that Tom was first detailed to a converted World War II transport on radar picket duty off the Atlantic Coast. "This was clearly not Tom's style. He managed to get a transfer off that old bucket to the destroyer Moale on which I was serving. Tom was a wonderful shipmate, and we had some great times together successfully defending the Mediterranean and doing what young Lieutenants do in the great liberty ports of Europe."

After release from active duty, Tom attended Harvard Business School, graduating in 1967.

While at Yale he met Fontaine Flowers whom he wed during his second year at Harvard. They had two daughters, Haile and Knox, both named after ancestors. Their first home was in the historic district of Weston, CT where Tom had taken a position as VP of Manufacturing in an entrepreneurial company.

In 1969 Tom started MBA Resources. The firm set out to provide investment capital and management to entrepreneurial ventures but quickly became focused primarily on recruiting the talent needed to run small companies. Subsequently the firm merged with another executive search firm and continues today as Nordemann Grimm.

In 1974 his wife moved to California and divorce ensued. The divorce was one of Tom's most disappointing events, not his choice. Tom was a natural parent and the separation from his daughters was a great tragedy for him and for them. Two years later, Tom left MBA Resources and invested in some smaller companies in software development and Ferrari and Saab dealerships in Greenwich, CT.

Subsequently, he married Janet Jones-Parker, co-founder of the first executive search firm to specialize in recruiting women executives. Janet survives him. In 1980, Thomas Garcin Parker, Jr., was born to join Jessica, Janet's daughter by her first marriage. In 1990, nine-year-old Luom William Parker arrived from a Vietnamese orphanage.

Janet writes: "Our life in Greenwich was busy with summers spent on the "Nourmahal", a classic wooden yacht once owned by the Vanderbilts. It was a natural extension of the love Tom had for classic high quality things. Every spring, he welcomed "Nourmahal's" restoration as a wonderful therapeutic event."

"Tom had always talked about getting a Ph.D. in IT so in 1992 at the age of 52, our family of four relocated to Chapel Hill, North Carolina where Tom enrolled in a doctoral program at the University of North Carolina. The first semester proved that IT and academia were definitely 'his venue.' He loved his classes and the university loved having a Yale and Harvard man. He was once introduced, as 'This is Tom Parker, Yale and Harvard.'

"His plan was to complete his degree while living near my parents and then move overseas. Both of us had lived abroad and we longed to do so again. However, on July 14, 1993, Tom suffered a fatal heart attack, while doing what he loved the most, working on the boat to get it ready for the family's first trip down the intercoastal waterway.

"The loss to Tom's children was devastating. Knox and Haile had lost their mother only six weeks earlier that summer. Tommy and Billy were just starting their teen years. I decided to stay with my parents and accept their support while trying to comprehend the devastation of losing such a wonderful man. Those of you who remember Tom know that he was a kind and loving friend whose sweet voice added to any singing group."

Classmate Dan Allan paid Tom tribute: "There was a natural grace about Tom - a certain confidence and ease that attracted others to him. A true gentlemen, generous to a fault and a model of understatement, Tom seemed to glide through our years at Yale without a care in the world. ... A talented musician, Tom wrote several arrangements we in the O's and B's came to perform often. ... By tradition, our final number was always "Pretty Girl" and, sure enough - after our weekend performances at Vassar, Smith, Briarcliff, wherever - Tom would always, somehow, end up with the prettiest girl without even trying. I hung around him whenever I could, hoping a little might rub off. We all did, one way or another."

Janet added a postscript: "Haile has her masters degree from the Savannah School of Design. She is a gifted artist and marketer. Knox just got married and lives in the Lake Tahoe area where she has her real estate license. Jessica is a singer, songwriter, scriptwriter and actress who spends time in Los Angeles auditioning and working on her many creative gifts. Tommy, Jr. just returned from a two-year missionary assignment in Salt Lake City and is attending junior college before returning to Utah. Luom, known as Billy, is using his extraordinary artistic talents and trying to determine which culinary school to attend."

His widow Janet remains single. Both she and Tom were active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, known as the Mormons, when he died. "I miss him everyday," Janet said. "There will be a great reunion some day."