Family creates memorial scholarship in honor of journalist Nancy Parker

Family creates memorial scholarship in honor of journalist Nancy Parker

OPELIKA, Ala. (WTVM) - Nancy Parker’s family in Opelika has created a memorial scholarship in her honor, but hearts are still heavy in Opelika as community members process the loss of one of their own.

Parker was an Opelika native, Opelika High school alumnae, and former WTVM reporter.

“She was a phenomenal woman, a phenomenal mother, a phenomenal friend, a phenomenal confidant, and a phenomenal career woman,” said Parker’s longtime friend, Jerry Jackson.

Parker died in a plane crash Friday while shooting a story for her news station in New Orleans.

But back in Opelika, Mayor Gary Fuller said the loss of someone so well-loved and respected has many struggling.

“It is heartbreaking to this community,” Fuller said.

But despite this heartbreak, Parker’s family created a scholarship in honor of her for the community foundation of East Alabama.

“Right after hearing about the tragic accident, this was something they thought of that would give back to the community and really say what education meant to Nancy,” said Barbara Patton, president of the Community Foundation of East Alabama.

The scholarship will be awarded to a senior at Parker’s Alma Mater, Opelika High School, next spring.

Many people said this scholarship is so fitting.

“Nancy was all about scholarship,” Jackson said. “What a great way to honor her in her absence to make a donation to someone that can be helped.”

This is especially true because education is so important in the Parker family, with her mother, Patsy, a former guidance counselor at Opelika High School and current chairman of the school board, and her father, Bill, a former principal of Opelika Middle.

In a statement shared with News Leader 9, the superintendent of Opelika City Schools, D. Mark Neighbors said:

"The Parker family has done so much for education in the Opelika community. Nancy was a product of the Opelika City Schools and we would encourage members of our community to support this scholarship in her honor. She made such a difference in people’s lives and this would continue her legacy of doing that in a way that honors Nancy, the Parker family, and her hometown. She will be greatly missed by all that knew her.”

If you would like to donate to the scholarship, visit the Community Foundation of East Alabama’s website.

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