In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Bob Parker, 1932-2024

Portrait of Robert R. Parker Jr. IMB Photo

Bob Parker, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Zimbabwe, died March 20, 2024, in Anderson, South Carolina. He was 92.

Bob was born March 3, 1932, in Honea Path, South Carolina, to Raymond and Mae Parker. He graduated from Honea Path High School, received his bachelor’s degree from Erskine College, his Master of Religious Education degree from Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina, and studied at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

Bob was stationed at Ray Barracks in Friedberg, Germany. He served in the dispensary at the Army’s 13th Armored Infantry Battalion, 3d Armored Division (Spearhead) for two years.

He married his first wife, Mary Lorena Stroup Parker, in 1950. In 1968, Bob and Mary served as Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) missionaries for 18 months in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Africa, before her death in 1970.

After he married Pam, they served as International Mission Board missionaries to Rhodesia. His obituary reported, “During the first half of his 30 years in Africa, he served as principal for Sanyati Baptist High School and 23 primary schools. Consequently, his passion for sharing Jesus as Savior led him to church planting. He became known throughout Zimbabwe as ‘Mufundisi One Way;’ he started One Way Clubs in schools, planted churches and discipled believers throughout Sanyati, Gokwe, Makonde, Chinhoyi, Karoi, and Kariba. During that time, he supported the pastors and believers of Sanyati and Chinhoyi Baptist churches as a faithful member.”

IMB missionary Robert R. Parker, Jr., talking with a student on the baptist secondary school grounds in Sanyati, Zimbabwe. At the time the photo was taken, Parker was principal of the school. IMB Photo

He served with the IMB for nearly 30 years.

Bob is preceded in death by his first wife, Mary Stroup Parker.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Pamela Kelley Parker; his six children, Fran Young, Bill Parker, Beth Arnold (Bill), Ben Parker (Leslie), Katie Lewis (Dale), Timothy Parker (Amanda); 14 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren.

A funeral service was held March 24, at The Standard Cremation and Funeral Center in Anderson, South Carolina.

Donations in his memory may be made to the Lottie Moon Offering, IMB, 3806 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230, or online at Generosity Resource Center – IMB Generosity.

Read an obituary here.