OPELIKA, Ala. (WTVM) - As family and loved ones head to New Orleans for the funeral of Opelika Native, New Orleans news anchor, and former WTVM reporter, Nancy Parker, friends reflect on the woman she was and the memories they share.
Friends said time spent with Parker was always a delight.
“We had so much fun," said lifelong friend Jerry Jackson. "We picked up from where we left off.”
Another friend of Parker’s, JoEllen James, agreed.
“Nancy was always a joy to be around and always so much fun,” James said.
The 53-year-old was an Opelika native and former WTVM and WSFA reporter before eventually heading to New Orleans where she was a news anchor for the past 23 years.
It was in New Orleans while shooting a story that a plane crash claimed her life.
“I’m going to miss her smile," Jackson said. "I’m going to miss her laughter, and I’m going to miss her calling me Jer-bear.”
Jackson, who’s known Parker since she was in the fourth grade, said she was truly a gift to everyone around her.
“Her humbleness and her ability to relate to everybody is always going to resonate with me,” Jackson said.
James is another lifelong friend of Parker’s. They remained friends through Girl Scouts, college at the University of Alabama, and even after Parker moved to New Orleans.
It’s Parker’s sense of humor that lingers in James’ memory.
“I think about Nancy laughing a lot," she said. "I can hear it right now.”
James said she’s been thinking of all the laughter they shared like at camp.
“We slept in tents, and she rolled out of the bed and out of the tent and onto the ground,” James said.
And though she’s heartbroken, James said she’s appreciative of the time they had together.
Parker had a catch phrase, “I got this,” and friends said they’re using those words to get through this difficult time.
“I know that she’s watching over us right now, and she’s telling me, ‘We got this,’ instead of ‘I got this, we got this.’ So we’re going to get through this together.”
Parker attended Opelika High School, and was the first ever African American Miss Opelika High School. She attended the University of Alabama, where she was a dedicated member of the Delta Sigma Theta Public Service Sorority.
She’s survived by her parents, brother, husband and three children.
Parker’s memorial service is set for Friday at Xavier University’s Convocation Center in New Orleans at 10 am.