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Robert Craig Parker was born on July 22, 1942 in Ottumwa, IA to Robert and Ruby Dickens Parker. He moved to Eldon, IA as a child and attended Eldon High School, graduating with the class of 1960. He was always proud to be the last class to graduate from the high school. After graduation Bob attended college at Oklahoma Tech. During this time, he married Carla Potts and started a family. The two later divorced but not before becoming the proud parents of two boys, Robert and Darrin. Bob worked for a short time at John Deere in Ottumwa before accepting a job at Cutler Hammer in Colorado in the engineering department. This career took him to California where he worked at Kaiser and married Madeline Kelsey. Bob and Madeline returned to Eldon where he purchased the hardware store, eventually combining his love of automobiles to form Parker's Hardware and Auto Store. This was the perfect fit for Bob. He loved cars and he loved the people. In 1992, Madeline passed away and Bob found comfort in his work. On June 2, 1998 he married Diane Weir in Las Vegas, NV and the two remained at each other's side for the next 20 years. Bob ran the store for over 30 years serving the community of Eldon. In retirement Bob enjoyed sitting back in the chair and watching a good western movie. He made sure to catch the St. Louis Cardinals and Denver Broncos games and cheered for Hawkeye Basketball. When his health would allow, he supported his grandchildren's events. Bob loved to be ornery and often had a good joke that could only be shared in certain company. Bob's love of cars only grew throughout his life, leading him to a career that allowed him to love his work. He will be missed by his family and many friends.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, his second wife Madeline (1992) and a sister-in-law, Terri Nichols.
Left to share his story is his loving wife, Diane of rural Floris, IA; four sons, Robert (Linda) Parker of Ottumwa, IA, Darrin Parker of Arvada, CO, Tim (Diane) Garrels of Eldon, IA and John Essary of Eldon, IA; one daughter, Kim Chickering of St. Louis, MO; one brother, Rex Nichols of Bettendorf, IA; eleven grandchildren, twelve great grandchildren, as well as many extended family and friends.
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