Wesley Gene Parker, 91, of Niceville FL, passed away peacefully on November 9, 2023. He was surrounded by family.
Wes, to his family and friends in Florida and Gene in Arkansas, was born on July 12, 1932, to James and Maude Parker in Horatio, Arkansas. He is survived by Nell Parker, his wife of 68 years and their daughters and husbands, Donna and Johnny Simmons, Karen and Skip Runyan, and Pam and Steve Gannon.
Wes was Granddad, Grandpa, and Papa to his four Grandchildren, Shanda Smith, Jeff Simmons, Staci Simmons, and Nathan Runyan, as well as his four Great-Grandchildren, Jaxon Smith, Anna-Kayte Smith, and Easton Simmons. He was preceded in death by his Great-Grandson, Bennie Simmons.
Wes enlisted in the Air Force in 1951 and it was while assigned to Duke Field that he met and married Nell Padgett. Their travels took them to Maine, Japan, Germany, Florida, and Michigan. Wes also served in Korea and Vietnam before rounding out his 23 years of service. He retired as a Senior Master Sergeant.
After retirement, he was employed at the U.S. Postal Service, serving another 19 years working in the Niceville/Valparaiso Post Offices.
As a devout Christian, he was active in every church he attended, serving as a deacon, committee member, music director and he loved to sing in the choir and gospel quartets.
In his 70’s, he joined the Pelican Pickers and performed “gigs” at retirement homes and public events. Wes LOVED music; he sang tenor, played the piano, mandolin, penny whistle, banjo, guitar, and dulcimer (17 instruments in total).
After retiring from the Air Force, Wes earned his bachelor’s degree in criminology and a Master’s degree in Counselling while working full time and supporting his family.
Having grown up on a farm, Wes worked tirelessly in his gardens. We remember him for his daylily “farm” that continues to brighten all of our homes every season.
The viewing is from 1:00-2:00 with funeral service immediately after on Monday, November 13, 2023, at Calvary Baptist Church in Fort Walton Beach.