Memorial services for Marilyn Parker, 74, will be 11 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, at the Seventh-Day Adventist Church of Ardmore.

Viewing and a time of visitation and support for family and friends will be 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Harvey-Douglas Funeral Home.

Marilyn Dee Parker died Nov. 30 in her Ardmore home.

She was preceded in death by her daughter, Dawn Gallo.

She is survived by her husband David and son Kenneth.

She devoted her life to teaching, specializing in the late grade school years (e.g., 5th and 6th grades).

Marilyn was born in 1939 at Flint, Mich., to Walter and Medline Garrison. The Garrisons were German farmer who came to America during the Revolutionary War. She attended high school at Adelphian Academy in Holly, Mich., and then Southern Missionary College in eastern Tennessee, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education, and met her husband of 51 years, David Wallace Parker. After graduation, David and Marilyn taught together at Atholton Adventist Academy in Colombia, Md. After a couple of years, they moved back to Michigan where she supported David through his master's degree at Wayne State University and they had their first child, Kenneth. After David graduated, they resumed teaching together at Platt Valley Academy in Shelton, Neb., where they had their second child, Dawn.

After the birth of their second child, she stayed home to raise her children. During this time, they moved to Keene, Texas; Greenville, N.C.; and Richmond, Va. During this time, she earned a Master of Arts in elementary education from East Carolina University, and a second master's in special education from Virginia Commonwealth University. After returning to work, she taught in Pitt County Public School in North Carolina; Blackwell in Richmond, Va.; and Richmond Junior Academy in Virginia. In 1980, she was invited to return to her alma mater (now called Southern College) as a professor of education. She often described this as the best years of her life. Later to support her family, she moved away, returning to school herself, working on a doctorate at the University of Virginia, completing all but a Dissertation. Later, she returned to Richmond, and moved to Wilmington, Del. Even after retiring and moving to Fort Myers, Fla., she returned to teaching. Later, she moved to Jefferson, Texas, where she and her husband taught together for the last time. In order to support her daughter (who lived in Ardmore), she moved to Ardmore, but couldn't resist the urge to teach one more time at Beaver Academy.

She was especially known for her ability of turning around failing schools. She once took over as classroom where the previous teacher had been stabbed. In less than a year, she not only restored order, but even more importantly raised the achievement level by two grade levels. Scores of parents have written to the family with stories about how she "saved" their child academically.

At the time of her death, she had been fighting pancreatic cancer for a year. She had an active, happy thanksgiving with friends and family, but could not be roused from her sleep the following day. She woke briefly to say a few words before her death.

She made a difference in the world, quietly, by improving the minds of countless school children.

She will be missed.

Harvey-Douglas Funeral Home and Crematory will direct services and provide Cremation-With-Care. Condolences to the family may be sent online at