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Josephine's Story

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Josephine (Jo) Johnson Parker of Commerce stepped into heaven March 8, 2015, at the age of 89.
Jo was born to Phillip Ray Johnson and Elsie Braden Johnson on Aug. 17, 1925, on a farm near Elliott, Iowa. She was one of seven children. Siblings include brothers Carl, Dan, Milo and Win; and sisters were Marjorie and Effie Belle. Jo grew up in rural Iowa and graduated from Oakland Public School in 1943. She moved from Elliott to Hastings, Neb., and worked at the Naval Ammunition Depot. While there, she met Walter Ervin Parker. They were engaged on Feb. 6, 1945. While Walt was serving in the US Army, Jo returned to Elliott as a school teacher. Walt and Jo were married Aug. 28, 1948, at the First Christian Church/Disciples of Christ in Elliott, Iowa. They enjoyed 66 wonderful years together.
Upon Walt’s graduation from the University of Nebraska, they moved to Fort Worth in 1952. Jobs took them to Sherman, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Okla., and Commerce.
Jo was blessed with a wonderful family. Her four sons and their families include Walter James (Jim) and wife Carrie, William Edward (Bill) and wife Judy, Donald Ray (Don) and wife Jan, and Dale Ervin and wife Kathy. Her pride and joy were her grandchildren, Laura Kennedy and husband Scott, Lindsay Parker and husband Pete Joerger, Aaron Parker and wife Lindsey, Jameson Parker, Regan Parker, and Connor Parker, and great-grandchildren Parker Thomas Kennedy, Rylee Marye Kennedy and Josiah Charles Joerger.
While living in Commerce, Jo worked for Russell Shoe Store, White and Martin Hospital, Sears Catalog Store and East Texas State University (Texas A&M-Commerce) in the library. Jo also attended East Texas State University, securing an associate degree in business administration.
Both Walt and Jo retired from East Texas State University on Jan. 31, 1991. They took to the road in their RV, spending the next 13 winters in Mesa, Ariz., visiting friends and relatives. Their RV travels took them to 48 states.
In retirement, Jo joined a group known as “Retreads,” made up of several active and retired employees from the university library. She enjoyed the fellowship of that wonderful group.
Her funeral service was held at First United Methodist Church, 1790 Highway 24, Commerce at 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 11. Interment will be in the Dallas/Fort Worth National Military Cemetery in Grand Prairie at 1:15 p.m. today, March 12.
Pallbearers are grandchildren and/or spouses, and honorary pallbearers are the “Retreads” and their spouses.
In lieu of flowers, donations are encouraged to the following — First United Methodist Church, 1790 Highway 24, Commerce, TX 75428; Legacy Hospice, 120 E. South Town Drive, Tyler, TX 75703
Online condolences may be made at www.commercefuneralhome.com
Published on  March 22, 2015
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