Del. Joan N. Parker, 62, known for 'commitment to constituents

September 13, 1997|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

Joan Neverdon Parker, a longtime community activist in Woodlawn and a member of the Maryland House of Delegates from West Baltimore and Baltimore County, died of cancer early yesterday at her home. She was 62.

Delegate Parker was diagnosed with cancer nearly a year ago but did not allow her disease to interfere with her legislative duties, even while she was undergoing difficult chemotherapy treatments, said her sister, Cynthia Neverdon-Morton.

"Her commitment to her constituents was second only to her commitment to her family," she said.

Del. Joseph J. "Sonny" Minnick, a Dundalk Democrat who is chairman of the Baltimore County delegation, said he had no idea Delegate Parker, who was the delegation secretary, was ill. She also was a member of the Appropriations Committee.

Ms. Neverdon-Morton said her sister had "a mothering nature," delaying her own college education to help some of her 11 brothers and sisters earn degrees first.

"She felt it was her responsibility, if something was out of place, to set it right," her sister said.

After retiring from a 33-year state career as a financial analyst and auditor for Morgan State University, Coppin State College and the state Workers' Compensation Commission, Delegate Parker joined her friend Delores G. Kelley, now a state senator, in a joint run for the General Assembly.

Their victories in 1994, along with victories by Dels. Emmett C. Burns Jr. and Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, made them the first-elected black officials in Baltimore County. All are Democrats.

"Joan was principled, not political," Burns said. Senator Kelley said she recruited Delegate Parker to run on her ticket after the 10th Legislative District was created in 1991. "I've known her for 30 years," Senator Kelley said. "She had very strong powers of analysis, and she always looked at the social connection. I will definitely miss her."

Under Maryland law, the Baltimore County Democratic State RTC Central Committee has 30 days to recommend to Gov. Parris N. Glendening, a delegate to replace Delegate Parker. The governor then has 15 days to make a final choice.

Delegate Parker was born and raised in West Baltimore by a mother she later described as strong and religious and a father who quizzed his children on current events at the dinner table. She graduated from Douglass High School and the Community College of Baltimore, and got her bachelor's degree in business from the University of Baltimore in 1981. She married Louis Parker, who survives her, in 1959.

She worked closely with the community association in Robin Hills, where the couple lived and raised their three children, the Liberty Road Community Council, the Delta Theta Sigma sorority, and several other community and cultural groups.

Along with her husband, she is survived by a son, Louis Randall Parker, and two daughters, Joyce E. Parker and Patrice L. Parker, all of Baltimore; five brothers, Thomas R. Neverdon, Robert Neverdon, Ronald Neverdon, Andre Neverdon and Gary Neverdon, all of Baltimore; four sisters, Barbara N. Adeboye of Washington, and Cynthia Neverdon-Norton, Gail Edmonds and Michal Merritt, all of Baltimore; three aunts; and 23 nieces and nephews.

Services will be held Wednesday at Epworth United Methodist Church, Liberty Road and St. Lukes Lane, where she was an active member for 20 years. Interment will be at Arbutus Memorial Park.

Pub Date: 9/13/97

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