Choirmaster, teacher Sam Parker passes away at age 71
November 5, 2016

Sam Parker.

Sam Parker.


Samuel Ray “Sam” Parker, music and choir director at Holy Family Church and music teacher at Children of Peace School, died Sept. 21 at age 71.

“Sam Parker had been here at Holy Family for the last 43 years,” said the Rev. Michael Gabriel, the parish’s pastor. “In 1973, Fr. Frank Holland, S.J., hired Sam to start and lead a gospel choir. Sam accepted the challenge, and the results speak for themselves.”

“He was anointed with a sweet gift that enabled him to give of his very heart and soul in playing, teaching, and singing,” Fr. Gabriel said. “Sam had the rare ability to inspire and motivate and instill the Holy Spirit in the choir and the congregation.”

Mr. Parker taught at Children of Peace School and previously at Holy Family, St. James, and St. Agatha. At Children of Peace, he was music teacher and choir director for more than two decades, said principal Clair Zaffaroni.

Mr. Parker “has been instrumental in professing the faith here at Children of Peace,” Zaffaroni added. “He brought out the spirit in the students he taught; he brought out their closeness to God.”

Survivors include his daughters Venus (Danny) and Claudia; son Octavius; sisters Juanita and Jacqueline; brothers Wilbert and William; eight grandchildren; one great-granddaughter; and many nephews and nieces. He was predeceased by his wife, Betty.

Services were held on Oct. 8 at Holy Family, with an Oct. 18 memorial service at Children of Peace.

— Susan S. Stevens