A well-respected Goldsboro physician who worked in the profession until his 82nd birthday has died.
Dr. Talbot "Tod" Fort Parker Jr. was 90 years old at the time of his passing, on Dec. 30, in Waynesville.
Born in Goldsboro, he attended Goldsboro City Schools and later served in the Navy.
He returned to his hometown in 1957, opening a private practice.
When the community hospital was built he relocated his office nearby, renaming the practice Wayne Women's Clinic and recruiting other OB-GYNs to the area to join his practice.
Dr. David Tayloe of Goldsboro Pediatrics called Parker "a real catalyst in the development of that OB-GYN group practice."
"He was very progressive physician who fostered obstetrician-pediatrician communication that allowed us to achieve optimal newborn outcomes," he said.
Parker retired from private practice at age 65 but continued to work part-time for another 16 years with the family planning clinic at Wayne County Health Department, alongside his good friend and colleague, Dr. Kenneth Wilkins.
"He was in private practice by himself and I was, too, when he started the Wayne Women's Clinic," Wilkins said.
The two "worked together well" at the health department, both before and after each had retired, he said.
"The only thing that I could say was that Tod Parker was an honest person and he continued to study his whole life," Wilkins said. "We never had a cross word."
Parker devoted 58 years of his life to the practice of medicine, retiring on his 82nd birthday, in 2009.
He was also active in many medical associations, serving in a variety of leadership roles.
He was president of the medical staff at the Wayne County Hospital and chairman of the OB-GYN department.
He served as president of the Wayne County Medical Society and was a member of the North Carolina Medical Society, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecology and the North Carolina Section of ACOG.
Dr. James Stackhouse, medical director at the health department, said Parker was well-established in the community when Stackhouse arrived in town.
"I remember Tod as a physician whose patients really loved him, appreciated what he did for them, and he was also a very outgoing, friendly and supportive person to other physicians," he said. "I don't remember ever seeing him angry, mad or frustrated."
Dr. Steven Lies of Wayne Women's Clinic was hired in 1980 by Parker, then a senior partner there.
"We worked together for 10 years," he said. "There were four partners when I came -- Dr. Parker, Walker Campbell, Michael Gooden, and I made the fourth partner."
Lies has many fond memories, of Parker the man and the physician.
"We'll have lots of Tod Parker stories to tell for years to come -- some that can't be shared in the newspaper," he said with a laugh. "But not in a bad way."
"He was the kindest, sweetest, most honest man that I have ever met. He'd do anything for you.
"On a professional level, he was a good doctor. He loved his patients and his patients loved him. I could not have made a better choice than to come and work with Dr. Parker."
Dr. Michael Gooden, retired and now living in Morehead City, said he had joined the medical team at Wayne Women's Clinic in 1977.
He remembered Parker as a wonderful, happy guy who would give you the shirt off his back.
"He was truly a unique individual," he said. "I can't think about him without smiling."
Parker and Campbell hired Gooden right out of residency. The men were in practice together for about three years before being joined by Lies, Gooden said.
"(Parker) gave me an opportunity to go into business with him, in practice," he said. "That was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. I hope he felt the same way."
A memorial service for Parker is planned for Saturday, Jan. 6, at 2 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Goldsboro.