Roy T. Parker, M.D.

Roy T. Parker

1920-2003

Roy T. Parker died on June 20, 2003. He was a son, husband, brother, father, grandfather, physician, teacher, investigator, and a man who set out to change how ob-gyn was practiced, not only in North Carolina, but in the US. He was also a mentor, in the very best sense of the word to many physicians with whom he came in contact.

In his role as a man of his family, Roy was adored by his wife Georgia and his two children, Nancy and David. Georgia was always at his side -- in Durham and in many places all over the US and the world. Sadly, Georgia Sugg Parker passed away four days after her husband Roy. They were married for an amazing 59 years. Despite a very busy life of medicine, he always found time with his children and always had stories of their accomplishments and dreams. He defined the role of an involved father, but he was also a wonderful surrogate grandfather for nearly every child he ever met.

Roy was a physician -- he cared for his patients deeply. He wanted them to have the best care we could provide. He knew not only their illnesses, but their families, where they lived and so many of the things that impacted on their lives. He took care of the rich and famous, but also the poor and alone -- all with equal skill and concern. He was likely the finest pelvic surgeon ever known, but he also exemplified the other role of the physician -- caring teacher. He cared for others -- concerned that the people in rural North Carolina could not get the ob/gyn care they needed, due to money, access to care, or an inability of the few physicians in these areas to see them, he started an outreach program, funded by the State, in which Duke faculty and residents went to them -- in outlying clinics in many small towns in northeastern North Carolina. As a result, neonatal mortality in these areas declined, and many women were able to get cancer and other screenings to prevent or cure many life-threatening diseases. These clinics continue to this day.

A member, and usually President, of all our national societies, he led the struggle to improve access to ob/gyn care across the US. He defined and started subspecialty fellowships -- which have dramatically improved the education and skills of some of our finest physicians. He helped found the Association of Professors of Obstetrics and Gynecology, to enhance the teaching skills of our academicians. And he worked tirelessly in the ACOG to define practice standards for our discipline -- so every patient got the very best care available. Excellence was his watchword. He was an investigator who helped define the care of patients with severe pelvic infections and gynecologic cancer. Roy trained nearly 200 residents and a thousand students. Nearly 40 department chairs came from his students.

Roy was a mentor -- in the very best sense of the word. He took young physicians and pushed, pulled, led, opened doors and helped them to greater heights in every area.

Son, brother, grandfather, physician, teacher, investigator, mentor and leader. This world is a much better place for Roy Parker's passage through it.

Submitted by Charles B. Hammond, M.D.

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