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David Parkin '68 March 14, 2024 9:58 AM updated: March 14, 2024 10:10 AM

David P. Parkin, LTC USA (Ret) 

November 25, 1945 - January 11, 2024 

On Thursday, January 11, 2024, Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel David Parkin peacefully passed away due to complications from Myelodysplastic Syndrome-Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). He is survived by his two daughters, Andromeda Kristynne Byers (Steve Byers) of Braselton, GA, Kelsie Katherine Gabrielle Parkin (fiancé Andrew Shoup) of Tacoma, WA, and grandson Joshua Byers of Dawsonville, GA. David also leaves his sister Jackie Messer of Corsicana, TX, brothers Roy (and Bunnye) Parkin of Ft. Worth, TX, John (and Anne) Parkin of College Station, TX, bonus brother David Melville (and Joyce) of Aberdeen, WA, and many nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends.

David was born November 25, 1945, in Canton, IL, to Cecil Leonard Parkin and Grace Hazel Palmer Parkin. As the baby of the family, he was raised with his sister and two brothers in Fort Worth, TX, when the city was a sprawling, growing urban town. He enjoyed a traditional 1950’s-60’s childhood of exploring everywhere by foot, growing up alongside the Trinity River, and summer Boy Scout trips to Worth Ranch, even attending the Boy Scout National Jamboree in 1960. He fondly recalled summers at his mother’s hamburger stand in White Settlement, the Pop-D-Burger, where he cultivated his joy of coin collecting at an early age. He loved the Fort Worth Botanic Garden and after the Japanese Garden opened in 1973, this became one of his most favorite outings, especially with his daughters.

David attended South Hi Mount Elementary and Stripling Junior High Schools (met Reitha Gayle Luke later Parkin) and later Arlington Heights High School where he enjoyed many sports including football and boxing. After graduating from high school, he attended Texas A&M University where he earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees in Poultry Science and later earned another master’s degree in Counseling. Gig ‘Em, Ags! While in school, as a member of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets, he married his wife of over 47 years, Reitha Gayle Luke. David and Reitha had a beautiful traditional military wedding at Carswell Air Force Base on January 27, 1968.

In 1969 David entered into military service. He served in the United States Army for 23 years receiving many meritorious service and Army achievement medals. He was cited for his “keen foresight, superior professional abilities and meticulous attention to detail”. Specializing in Air Defense Artillery, his military career included two tours in Germany, the last as Executive Officer “XO” of the 3/67 Battalion in Kitzingen (1986-1988). He also was on assignment in South Korea (1980), and was a professor of Military Science at Lehigh University and Kutztown University (1981-1984). His last assignment was teaching at the Combined Arms Services and Staff School (CAS3) in Fort Leavenworth where he retired as lieutenant colonel in 1992.

Upon his military retirement, he returned to Texas taking up residence in Burleson and then Fort Worth, where he worked with Disaster Recovery Services (DRS, currently Belfor). As volleyball was a part of the culture curriculum at CAS3, David harnessed his volleyball enthusiasm to become a referee official for the Fort Worth School District. All who were privileged to work with him over the years knew him as an honest and hard worker – dependable in every way.

David was a loving husband to Reitha and dedicated himself to caring for her once she fell ill; he was her sole caregiver until she passed away in 2015. He then indulged his two daughter’s wishes for him to move to Hoschton, GA, to be close to his Georgia family.

David had many hobbies and loves. With his family and friends first and foremost his biggest love, he also embarked on many hikes with his shih tzu pal “Cosmo” through trails in his neighborhood to visiting Civil War sites throughout the U.S., birdwatching and identification (he could tell you the name of a bird by its song), he loved listening and singing along to his favorite music, he studied American history and was an aficionado of military science, he greatly enjoyed cooking (“what needs chopping?”), science fiction and astronomy, the traditions of Thanksgiving and Christmas and he looked forward to his annual trek back to Texas to visit with his family and extended family, especially visits to Possum Kingdom.. and of course, he LOVED Texas A&M Football, having been able to attend many games at home and on the road with his brother and daughters. A true 12th man, he enjoyed a lifetime of Texas A&M Sports and regularly contributed to the Corps of Cadets and 12th Man Foundation. Gig ‘Em, Ags!

He was passionate about his charitable contributions and regularly vetted and evaluated his chosen organizations, a few to note are St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Tunnel to Towers, Georgia ForestWatch, and the University College London Huntington’s Disease Centre Research (UCL HDR). He was also fervent about environmental conservation and not using single-use plastics, “no straw, thank you”. In lieu of flowers, any of these organizations would be ideal for your donation.

David was a loving, loyal, hard-working husband, father, brother, son and friend. We are forever grateful for all of the lessons in life and “true grit” that he gifted us with and the humor, good spirit, and determination to good health he imprinted upon our hearts. We will miss his presence in this life and are grateful for the knowledge that we will see him again hereafter. He attended church at Hamilton Mill United Methodist Church.

David’s family wishes to express sincere gratitude and love to those who have helped love, pray, and care for him during his illness and also to those who have expressed their condolences at this time.

Funeral services will be held on Friday, January 26 at 11:00 a.m. in the Chapel at Wade Funeral Home, 4140 W Pioneer Pkwy, Arlington, TX 76013, followed by a procession for interment with Military Honors at 1:00 p.m. at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, 2000 Mountain Creek Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75211.

There will be a visitation at Wade Funeral Home on Thursday, January 25, from 6-8:00 p.m.


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