A Man of Goodwill and Great Fellowship

We If you could look up in the encyclopedia the phrase “Model Rotarian”, you might see a picture of Jim Parker.This legendary Rotarian of Burlington was incredible up until the time of his passing, (in his mid-90’s) in 2021.. Jim was known and respected by an incredible number of people.
In the Rotary Club of Burlington, he addressed people as “friend”….. as in “hello friend”. Jim was a Charter Member of the Club that started in 1951, shortly after he opened his business, “Parker’s Cleaners”. He was an early Vice-President and President of the Club, and one of the first to receive Rotary’s highest honours, a “Paul Harris Fellowship”,  an honour that was bestowed to him on behalf of the City.
One of his greatest events in our club history was the concept and creation of a low-cost senior citizen apartment complex called “Bonnie Place”, begun in 1963. Jim was the Chair of that committee, and it began with a number of Rotarians putting up security for the mortgage. Original rental rates were approximately $55. Phase two of the project followed with the construction of an 11-story complex, and this is still managed and maintained by The Rotary Club of Burlington. It has been a source of pleasure and pride not only to Jim, but to all members of the Club.
Another major project that Jim took on was the organization of a Burlington branch of the Stroke Recovery Association.
As much as Jim was held in highest regard for his dedication to Rotary, his very wide circle of Rotary friends, and his commitment to the 4-way test that is the Rotary guideline, it was his fierce commitment to ‘perfect attendance’ that was noted by everyone. The lengths to which he went to to maintain his perfect record were legend, and he tried to teach Rotarians about the joys of making up at other Clubs. Jim maintained perfect attendance for over 70 years !!! Let that sink in for a minute.
Jim will be fondly remembered as a Member who liked everyone, respected everyone in Rotary…..a successful businessman, a generous donor, a man of goodwill and great fellowship. We were blessed to have had him in, our midst in Rotary.
Submitted by Elaine Matthew 
Rotary Club of Burlington