Van Manson Parker, 81, passed away peacefully in his home on July 7, 2020, surrounded by his family and close friends. He was born July 22, 1938 to Harve and Hazel Parker in Japton, Ark., as the fifth of six children, and now is reunited with his parents and sister Angie (Ray) Ewing, sister Wilma (Dale) Short, brother Mandrid (Bill) Parker) and brother-in-law Red Brown.
Only a few years after Van was born, his family moved to Thornton to pursue a better life. Van was very proud of where he came from and of his hardworking parents. His parents worked in the fields so their children would have more opportunity than they had. At the young age of 16, Van dropped out of high school and went to work for the Thornton Cannery (later known as California Canners and Growers). He later went back to night school and got his high school diploma in 1967 from Lodi High night school, after he had become a foreman at the cannery and worked there until 1958 when he enlisted into the United States Navy. Van enjoyed his time in the military and was grateful for the traveling and adventures it provided.
When he was discharged from the Navy, he went back to work at the cannery and, in 1964, his daughter Terry was born. In 1972, Van got his real estate license and went to work for Eric Spiess. Eric was Van’s mentor, and they became the closest of friends. Terry later joined Van in the real estate business where they worked together until Van retired in 2012. Van loved working with and mentoring Terry.
Van was a beloved son, brother, father, uncle, cousin, and friend. He loved hunting, fishing, gardening and horseracing. He spent most of his time with his family and lifelong best friends Tom Skinner, Robert Sienga, Al Sienga and Dillard Riddlesperger. He never met a person he didn’t befriend, and his big hugs and charming greetings could always light up a room. He lived life to the fullest and cherished every opportunity to make a memory. Above all, Van loved being a father and grandfather.
Van is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Terry Parker-Owning and Ron Owning; his brother and sister-in-law, Doug and Debbie Parker; his sister, Margie Brown; his grandson and granddaughter-in-law, John and Lesley Owning; and his granddaughter, Madison Owning.
A celebration of life is planned for a future date.