LISTENING – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski listens in the audience as she's introduced during Wednesday's Sitka Chamber of Commerce meeting at Harrigan Centennial Hall. Murkowski and members of her staff spent the day in Sitka visiting with constituents. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Jim Parker Dies at 87; 60-Year Sitka Resident

James Wallace (Jim) Parker

James Wallace (Jim) Parker

James Wallace (Jim) Parker, 87, died Jan. 9, 2020, at SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe in Sitka, and went to be with his Heavenly Father.
Jim was born to James Frontinus and Leona Parker on June 1, 1932, in Warroad, Minnesota. The youngest of seven children, he was raised in the northernmost frontier regions of Minnesota near the Lake of the Woods, working hard on the family farm and ranch,  hunting, fishing and trapping.
After graduating from high school, the spirit of adventure called him to enlist in the U..S. Army during the Korean War. He served overseas in Germany, and it was during this time he met “Peggy” Waltraud Hergesell. They married on January 21, 1955, in Eschwege, Germany.
Jim attended college with his GI Bill and received a bachelor of Science in Forestry degree from the University of Idaho, with interests that turned toward fisheries management.  He went to work for the Alaska Department of Fish & Game in 1958 and in 1960 moved his young family to Sitka, where he and Peggy raised their five children.
As a biologist, he was one of the few resource managers in the field for many years. Anything that was commercially caught or harvested, he managed. He monitored the herring fishery in Sitka for some 20 years and is credited with bringing the resource back to a healthy,  viable population.
Upon retirement he and Peggy resumed an interest in fisheries as commercial fishermen. They were a team. They longlined for halibut, hand trolled for salmon, fished for Dungeness crab and harvested herring roe on kelp. But the pursuit Jim really had a passion for was trapping, a pursuit that was lifelong.
In his later years he enjoyed wood work, collecting and cataloguing the many different types of wood he found, shaping and forming them into something new, useful and beautiful. Jim’s evenings were filled with reading the newspaper, spiritual books and literature, playing cribbage, watching a good movie.
Jim was very self-reliant, heating the family home from neatly stacked firewood, constantly fixing anything and everything around the home, his vehicles, equipment, and on his boat.
Jim was a man of conviction and had a strong faith in his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  He was an elder and deacon of the Presbyterian Church.  He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge,  Pioneers of Alaska, and served as a member on the Board of Fisheries.
Jim loved Sitka’s beauty, the outdoors, and all it had to offer. He and his wife enjoyed traveling throughout Alaska, Canada and the lower 48 with their truck and camper. They particularly loved the Alcan Highway especially during the fall, and visiting family near and far.
Jim is survived by his wife Peggy of 65 years; an elder sister, Moonyeen; his three sons, James “Fronty” (Barbara) of Delta Junction, Eric (Catherine) of Sitka, and Peter (Laura) of Eagle River;  two daughters, Meta Weaver (Victor) of Sitka and Lindy Batten (Randy) of Dutch Harbor; nine grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.
Jim was always inspired to improving the lives of children and their families.  The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, any memorial donations be made to the Shriners Children’s Hospital(s).
Shriners Hospitals for Children/ 2900 Rocky Point Drive/ Tampa, FL 33607.  (855) 401-4897.
Family members will hold a private memorial service at a later date.

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