Enoch ParkerApril 9, 1918 ~ May 3, 2017 (age 99)
Enoch Arden Parker Sr. rose from very humble beginnings to become an admired civil activist, splitting time between involvement in community organizations and spending time with close friends and family. He was born April 9, 1918 in Richlands, NC, a place where most black families were tilling the rich farmland or logging. He was the fourth oldest child, born to Percy and Olivia Parker. His siblings included Lilian, Rosa Lee, Iris, Henry, Etta Mae, Douglas, and Pauline, who currently resides in Jacksonville, NC. In his formative years Enoch recalled working on the farm shucking corn and chopping wood for the stove. His pastime was spent rolling tires down the road and listening to stories told by his Uncle Henry. Although he never went to school for the full year due to harvests season, Enoch still retained the intelligence and discipline to graduate from Georgetown High School in Jacksonville in 1939.
After graduation Enoch worked with the Civilian Conservation Corps, a public work New Deal program where he received $21 dollars a month to perform custodial work in mess halls. Feeling that he may soon be drafted into the armed forces, he chose to enlist into Coast Guard, where he attended a grueling basic training in Shreveport, LA. Enoch would then go to be stationed in New London, Connecticut. Some of his earliest memories in the service included episodes of seasickness to the kickback of the guns tearing his jaw up like a hamburger. His positions in the Coast Guard ranged from kitchen and cook duty to loading man for large ammunition. Stationed on the training vessel he was able to travel the globe, serving in both European and Pacific theaters, but spend much of his time patrolling Bridgeport Harbor. While in Bridgeport he went to Messiah Baptist Church, where he met Dorothy Jones, who he later married in 1945. Enoch and Dorothy would go on to have three children Enoch Jr (1948), Rodney (1950), and Donita (1951).
Yearning for more in his career, Enoch decided not to re-enlist in the Coast Guard in 1949 and was awarded with the good conduct medal, combat medal of the European-Pacific theaters and a sharpshooter medal. Enoch would then go and apply himself as a machine operationist, attending Bullard-Havens training school, and becoming proficient enough to land a position at ACVO Lycoming division manufacturing US Army Tank parts in Stratford, CT. Also during this time he began taking classes in business administration at the Warren Institute, where he would graduate two years later. He would leave AVCO in 1955 to join US Postal Services, working at the city of Bridgeport’s Main Post Office.
After his stint in the military Enoch still sought that bonded brotherhood, which he would find with the fraternal order of Prince Hall Free and Accepted Masons in 1949. He was initiated and would go on to serve positions within the Doric Lodge No. 4, before being elected Worshipful Master in 1960. He would then go on to perform masonic duties such as serving as Most Excellent High Priest of Signet Chapter No. 3, Royal Arch Mason. Enoch was a member of the Knights of Pythagoras youth fraternity. Enoch served as Grand Worthy Patron of the Prince Hall Grand Chapter of Connecticut Order of the Easter Star. In 1974 he was elected the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Free and Accepted Masons, Prince Hall Affiliated of the Jurisdiction of Connecticut. He would retain this office until 1976. Rising through the ranks of Prince Hall Freemasonry, Enoch was very influential in developing the Connecticut Proclamation for the Bicentennial Prince Hall Celebration, receiving the Proclamation from Governor Ella Grasso of Connecticut in 1975.
As the Grand Master of the Prince Hall Masons of Connecticut, he was afforded the opportunity to travel to Africa in November of 1974, traveling to throughout North and West Africa, even having tea with the President of Liberia. During his excursion he was able to visit historical sites which played significant roles in the slave trade.
In addition, Enoch was also a member of Arabic Temple No. 44 Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, Prince Hall Affiliated. He served as President of the Brothers In Action, a conglomerate of fraternal organizations aimed at addressing social issues.
Continuing his pursuit of knowledge, Enoch returned to education at Housatonic Community College, where he achieved his associates degree in education. During this time he began to work at the Bridgeport regional center as a vocational instructor. Always keeping spirituality at the forefront of his life, Enoch was a very active member of Walter’s Memorial AME Zion Church in Bridgeport. He was a president of the Connecticut Federation of Adult Bible Classes in addition to being a member of the Father’s Club of the North End Boys club in Bridgeport.
He was very active within his community, maintaining membership in the American Legion, in Bridgeport-Stratford branch of NAACP, and being appointed to serve in Grand Office in 1961. Enoch quickly applied his networking skills and leadership qualities to become the Worshipful Master of Doric Lodge, Prince Hall Affiliation of Masons in Bridgeport. In 1983 he would retire from the State of Connecticut, working as a counselor at Bridgeport Vocational Center.
In 1985 Enoch would reaffirm his roots and move back to Jacksonville, NC. He was able to reestablish relationships with family and quickly began engaging in fraternal organizations and social entities in the region. He would go on to participate in the Onslow County NAACP, becoming its President and Lifetime Member, battling issues such as education and voter rights. He was also a faithful member of the Haw Branch A.M.E. Church as well as a member of the A.Konce Help Yourself Club, in Onslow County, NC. Living on his families land Enoch would embrace the opportunity for family visits and be influential in Parker Family Reunions. In his golden years, Enoch continued to travel, visiting family, attending conferences, and participating in social events. As health challenges arose, there was a need to him to attain assistance and would spend his remaining years at the loving home of his daughter Donita. The Lord would take His mighty servant home on May 3, 2017, he was 99 years of age.
Enoch is survived by his sister Pauline Farrior, his children Enoch Jr (Erica), Rodney Sr (Ruth) and Donita G. Andrews (Robert), his grandchildren Jobari Andrews, Zamani Andrews, Casey Parker, Rodney Parker Jr (Rosa), Ryan Parker (Japera), Evan Parker and Eugene Parker, his great grandchildren Zamani Andrews Jr, Donita Andrews, Safina Andrews, Olivia Andrews, Makayla Braun, Rabeka Parker, Ryan Parker and Rae Parker, his God Daughter Denise Holmes (Oliver), a number of loving nieces and nephews and a special friend Daisy Bruinton.