Edith Laverne Parker was born on December 6, 1929 in Jacksonville, Texas, the 8th child of Emma Murphy Jones and Thomas Henry Jones, Jr. Edith recalled being kept busy as a child, with little time for playing, as the family had a farm in the country and children were expected to work. During this time, she got her first taste of motherhood, helping to raise her young niece, Frances Jones. Edith graduated early from Fred Douglass High School and briefly attended Butler College in Tyler, Texas.
Looking for a new adventure, Edith wanted to join her older sisters Ruth, Margaret and Lena in San Francisco. So, she made the difficult decision to leave Frances behind and departed Texas for California at the tender age of 17.
In San Francisco, Edith met and married Buford Mathis. To this union four sons were born: Kenneth, Randy, Davy Lynn, and Gregory. Edith later studied to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse. After her divorce and while working at San Francisco General Hospital, she met Menelick “Charlie” Parker, and they were married in 1964. They purchased a home in the Outer Sunset where they raised their four boys and remained there together throughout their marriage.
Edith and Charlie enjoyed taking trips to Reno with her sister and brother-in-law, Ruth and Ernest Blakley. They also enjoyed large family gatherings with the Parkers in Pinole, usually hosted by Charlie’s brother Joseph and his wife Pamella. Edith kept physically active and she and her sister Ruth loved to walk around Lake Merced. Edith would regularly swim at the Balboa Park pool and ride her bike until health issues limited her mobility and caused her to retire early in the 70s.
Edith kept busy as a grandmother the subsequent two decades: she volunteered at St. Gabriel School, from where her granddaughters Angie, Tina, Elena and Nicole graduated. In the early 80s, Elena moved in with Edith and Charlie, and they helped raise her until she left for college. In 1987, Edith won the San Francisco Chronicle- and Macy’s-sponsored “Mother of the Year” title, confirming what her family already knew to be true.
As a longtime, established resident of San Francisco, Edith was known and loved by many – her community included not only her friends, but also the friends of her children and grandchildren. She developed and maintained deep relationships with people, and she relished meeting and chatting up strangers. Edith was the type of person who left an impression on everyone she met. As she got older, and had to undergo more hospital stays, her community expanded to include doctors, nurses, physical therapists, pharmacists, and other medical professionals. People would often tell Edith’s children and grandchildren how “cute” she was, they also marveled at her amazing memory and how great she looked for her age.
In recent years, Edith kept up with this network of family and friends mainly by phone, making her round of calls each day. She loved family celebrations at the House of Prime Rib, playing Blackjack with Charlie at night, her daily lineup of TV “programs,” and directing Charlie’s household chores.
This past November, Edith welcomed her latest great-great-grandchild, Za’Kai. And in December, family and friends celebrated Edith’s 90th birthday, a milestone that meant so much to her.
Edith was preceded in death by her ten siblings, including her beloved sister Ruth; and her sons, Kenneth and Gregory.
Edith leaves to mourn and cherish her memory, her husband, Charlie; brothers-in-law, Ernest and Joseph (Pamella); sister-in-law, Martha; sons Davy Lynn (Denise) and Randy (Alecia); ex-daughter-in-law Jacquie Beja; a host of grandchildren including Angie, Stacey, Tina, Elena (Floyd), Nicole, Jason, Alexis, Lynn, Jenice, Jeremy, and Kara; great-grandchildren, including David, Taylor, Krystan, Kendra, Amaya, Jason, Gary, Pharaoh and Christian. She also leaves to mourn many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, and many other relatives and friends.
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