Parker#8217;s generosity benefits Northampton Cooperative Extension

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 23, 2007

JACKSON – When Jack Parker was a little boy growing up in Northampton County, he probably never would have guessed that someday he would be able to help his community.

On Tuesday at the Northampton County Cooperative Extension Advisory Leadership meeting, Parker and his wife, Trudy, announced they will set up an endowment to help fund Northampton County Cooperative Extension programs.

“I came from a real extension family,” said Parker. “I wanted to do something for the county, to give back for the life I’ve enjoyed.”

Parker recalled growing up in the community of Lasker, picking cotton in the very place the Valley Pine County Club now stands and attending 4-H Camp.

Parker is now the regional director of development of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service Foundation in Edenton.

His 33-year career with cooperative extension began after he graduated from NC State University with a bachelor’s degree in animal nutrition.

In 1960, he began his career with cooperative extension as a livestock agent in Beaufort County. Two years later he transferred to Halifax County.

After graduate school, in which he earned masters in animal nutrition, he served as a live stock specialist in the Animal Science Department at his alma mater.

He credits his mother and father, John Jack and Grace Duke, as the driving force behind his love of cooperative extension and the endowment.

Parker noted how his mother and father did extension work in their community.

Sharon Runion Rowland, Executive Director for Constituency Development Programs at North Carolina State University, recalled how Parker spoke to her about the importance of extension in his life.

“He said, ‘I want to do something for my mom and dad, where they taught me values’,” she said. “The endowment helps to provide money for programs in perpetuity.”

The money the $15,000 Parker Endowment generates through investments will be given to Northampton County Cooperative Extension each year.

According to Northampton County Director Rose Massey, extension staff will write to request funding for their particular program and Massey, along with the advisory chair and an advisory member, will decide where the money will be allocated for that year.

“It’s very exciting,” said Massey. “It will allow us to do creative and innovative things.”