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10.10.2012

Omaha Beach Veteran Joseph Lee Parker Jr. ‘38 Passes Away - Leaves Legacy of Serving Patients

I am saddened to hear the news of the passing of Dr. Joseph Lee Parker, Jr. He was a proud member of The University of Georgia family and the last surviving Navy doctor who landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy during the D-Day invasion of World War II. His heroism continued after the War when he established his own practice in rural Greensboro, Georgia, serving patients 24 hours a day and later as the chief of staff of the Minnie G. Boswell Hospital. Dr. Parker will be dearly missed, but the legacy of his work serving others lives on. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Parker’s family during this time.

Below you will find Dr. Parker’s obituary as provided by the McCommons Funeral Home.

Dr. Parker of Greensboro, Georgia died on Thursday, September 27, 2012 at the age of 95 at St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital. He was born November 20, 1916 in Waycross, Georgia, the son of the late Joseph Lee Parker, Sr. and Vera Estelle Sweat. He was an Eagle Scout and a graduate of Waycross High School and The University of Georgia. While at The University of Georgia, he was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity and lettered in swimming. He graduated from the Medical College of Georgia and married the late Martha Fleming of Augusta.

Dr. Parker served as a physician during World War II with the Navy and Marines. He was stationed in England and was part of the first wave of the Normandy Invasion during the D-Day landing at Omaha Beach with the 6th Naval Beach Battalion. He was the last surviving Navy surgeon of that invasion. He attended the wounded—both Allied and German—for twenty-one days on the beach. He received numerous awards and decorations from both the United States government and the Republic of France. Later, he served with the Marines in China and Guam.

After his military service, he established a medical practice in Greensboro, Georgia where he provided professional health care to the people of Greene and surrounding counties. In a rural practice with no hospital, 24-hour, 7-day a week house calls were an everyday event for Dr. Parker. He knew every country dirt road like the back of his hand. He was one of the founding physicians of the Minnie G. Boswell Hospital in 1949. He served as chief of staff for the hospital for twenty-five years until his retirement. Beloved and esteemed by all who had the privilege of knowing him, he was a hero to his community.

Dr. Parker married Carolyn Baugh Reynolds in 1987, and after his retirement they traveled all over the world. He also enjoyed spending time at his house on the Georgia coast as he loved being near the water. He built his first sailboat in St. Simons at the age of 14. He spent the last twenty-five years of his life on Lake Oconee.

Lee was a member of the Greensboro First Baptist Church and attended the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer. He was a 60-year member of the Masons, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and American Legion.

In addition to his wife, Carolyn Reynolds Parker, he is survived by a daughter, Jane Parker '43 and a son, Joseph Lee Parker III, grandchildren, Mandy Parker and Robert Snider; Rynee and Michael Strickland; Allison and Dusty Laux; and Joely and Matt Nicholson, Great-grandchildren Hayden and Conner Strickland; Jonah and Sam Laux; and Parker and Tessa Nicholson. He was preceded in death by his brother Jack Parker and Anna Parker, and his sister Vera Parker and Cleve Mincey and a grandson Lee Whichard.

Extended family members are Frances and Gentry Strickland, Jamie and Kathy Reynolds, Marguerite and the late Troy McInteer, Harold and Lesley Reynolds, Beth and Bobby Thomas, Jim and Ellen Strickland, Bill and Tabi Strickland, Jamie Reynolds IV, Chandler Reynolds, Jackson Reynolds, Will and Jack Thomas, Carolyn, Mary Cate, Davis and Amanda Strickland, and Ella and Hal Strickland.

Funeral services were held Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. at the McCommons Funeral Chapel with Dr. David Key and The Reverend Joseph D. Greene III officiating. Interment with military honors followed in the Greenview Cemetery. Serving as pallbearers were Johnny Hester, Mike Bradley, Billy Jarrard, Herbie Thurmond, Chris Houston, Dr. Dave Ringer, Carey Williams, Jr. and Richard Maddux.

The family requests that any memorials be made to the Active Duty Rehabilitation Unit of Augusta VA, c/o Reynolds Veterans Association, Inc., 6350 Lake Oconee Parkway, Suite 102, PMB 163, Greensboro, GA 30642. McCommons Funeral Home, 109 W. Broad St., Greensboro, GA, (706) 453-2626, is in charge of arrangements.

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Recent Entries


04.15.2015

Alumni Spotlight: Josh Collins (BSEH '97, MS '99)

Josh Collins (BSEH '97, MS '99) is the proud owner of Athen's newest juke-joint style restaurant, Champy's Famous Fried Chicken. Located at 1120 Baxter Steet, Athen, GA, the restarunt stives to bring together traditional, southern-family recipes with an atmosphere that will attract a diverse crowd. 

The UGA Alumni Association’s Strategic Communications intern, Emilie Clarke ’15, had the opportunity to catch up with this outstanding alumnus. Read below to find out more about Josh’s entrpreneurial endeavors.

You recently opened Champy’s Famous Fried Chicken, tell me a little bit about the restaurant. What steps did you take to open your own business? What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Champy's was founded in Chattanooga in 2009 by a good friend of ours, Seth Champion, who was raised on the Mississippi Delta.  Although Champy's of Athens is the fifth ocation, which also includes Daphne, Alabaster and Muscle Shoals, AL, we are not a franchise. We refer to ourselves as a "friendchise" between buddies that enjoy great food in a fun atmosphere. The atmosphere is fun for all ages. 

My wife, Amy, and I have talked about moving to Athens for the past 10 years and I knew that Athens was a Champy's explosion waiting to happen. We worked on selling the idea of Athens to Seth for over two years then invested everything we had into opening, including having to go all the way to Mississippi to get a business loan because local banks wouldn't work with us. We cashed in our 401Ks, are still living in an RV and continue to invest all of the elbow grease we have every day.     

 

  

Interior of Chmapy's Famous Fried Chicken

Where do you see the company in five years?

For the Athens Champy's, I can see a destination spot that draws customers from all over Georgia and visiting sports rivals, a thriving catering business for everyone that wants good southern food, and a restaurant full of locals that are drawn to our bluesy atmosphere. As for expansion, I definitely see a second location in five years, maybe an hour or two from Athens. 

What chefs or types of cuisines are your biggest food influences?

Flavors from the Deep South - Mississippi Delta hot tamales, fresh fried chicken and homemade sides. Our recipes were handed down from Seth Champion's grandfather over 40 years ago.  

How did your time at UGA help you achieve your personal and professional goals? Did you have a favorite professor or class that really stuck with you? Favorite memory from your time at UGA?

My environmental health sciences degree kick-started my corporate career and provided me with 15 years of business experience that I lean on every day to run the restaurant.   

I would have to go with two professors, Dr. David MacIntosh and Dean Phil Williams of the Health Science Campus. You didn't ask, but I couldn't forget about Ms. Sandra McPeake who was the department's assistant in the late 1990s. She couldn't always keep me out of trouble, but she tried her best! 

Football Saturdays in Athens are my favorite memory.  All of them...

What advice would you give to future graduates or young alumni who aspire to own their own business?

Just do it.  No one is going to make it happen, but you. 

To learn more about Josh Collins (BSEH '97, MS '99) and Champy's Famous Fried Chicken visit ChampysChicken.com.

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04.14.2015

Alumnus Spotlight: Carlton Curtis (ABJ '72)

Former UGA Alumni Association President Carlton Curtis (ABJ '72) has been honored with the 2015 Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality Award. Presented by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), this award goes to an individual who has shown extraordinary achievement and exemplary leadership in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

"It's a privilege to recognize Carlton and his lifetime of achievements with one of the NRAEF's and the industry's highest honors," said Rob Gifford, executive vice president of strategic operations and philanthropy of the National Restaurant Association and NRAEF. "During his tenure with Coca-Cola and as a member of the NRA and NRAEF boards, Carlton has been steadfastly passionate and committed to improving the industry. He is a tremendous industry advocate, and an exemplary role model within the nation's restaurant and foodservice sector."

Curtis spent the past 43 years with the Coca-Cola Company, while volunteering his time, resources and expertise to restaurant operators and retailers around the globe in an effort to raise the stature of the industry. He has served as chairman of the board of the NRAEF, serves on the Board of Directors of the International Franchise Association, is the current chair of IFA's Diversity Institute, and is a member of the Hall of Fame of the Distinguished Restaurants of North America. He serves his alma mater as an emeritus trustee of the UGA Foundation. He will be recognized today at the National Restaurant Association’s Public Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

Continue reading this news story

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04.08.2015

Shabbat 500 creates home for UGA students

Recently, Executive Director Meredith Gurley Johnson (BSFCS '00) had an opportunity to attend the Shabbat 500 dinner.

Thanks to generous Georgia Fund gifts, University of Georgia student organizations are able to apply for sponsorship dollars from the UGA Alumni Association. This is an important way for alumni to support the diverse student groups on campus, including UGA’s student Jewish center, The Rohr Chabad House.

Since 2011, the UGA Alumni Association has been a proud sponsor of the Shabbat 500, an annual free dinner for UGA’s Jewish community in celebration of Shabbat. As a sponsor of Shabbat 500, we help fund the 500-person event hosted by The Rohr Chabad House.

The Chabad House is located near the Spec Towns Track and is a home-away-from-home for Jewish students that offers fellowship and an opportunity to celebrate the holidays. Rabbi Refson and his wife, Chana, have five children, yet they are still able to provide unparalleled hospitality to UGA students through their work with The Chabad House. Every Friday evening, the couple welcomes approximately 60 students for a free dinner in their home. The UGA community is lucky to have individuals like Rabbi Refsen and Chana who provide such special moments for students to gather and celebrate Judaism.

I was able to attend this year’s Shabbat 500 with UGA Alumni Association Vice President Ruth Bartlett (BBA ’76). I witnessed a number of UGA’s student leaders participate, enjoyed seeing the special connections these students have with one another, and loved hearing the prayers, blessings and singing that took place! The students’ energy reminded me how wonderfully diverse the University of Georgia student body is and it made me proud that the UGA Alumni Association sponsors this program.

I greatly admire Rabbi Refson’s family and appreciate the role they play in building a welcoming community for students on campus. I am proud to call them my friends and hope the entire Athens community knows how lucky we are to have them as a resource for students. I invite students, parents and alumni to investigate Chabad of Georgia and The Chabad House to find their role in supporting Rabbi Refson and this special organization on campus.

  

Executive Director Meredith Gurley Johnson (BSFCS '00), Student Alumni Council Member Reed Turry '17 and Vice President Ruth Bartlett (BBA '76)

I look forward to our team sponsoring this event, which promotes campus diversity and inclusiveness, again in the future. Thank you to The Chabad House for hosting Ruth and me!

Meredith Gurley Johnson (BSFCS ’00) is the executive director of the UGA Alumni Association. 

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