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Dr. James C. Parke, Jr.

CHARLOTTE, NC – Dr. James Clifton Parke, Jr., age 89, of Charlotte, NC died on Friday, March 23, 2018 at Asbury of Aldersgate in Charlotte.

He was born July 17, 1928 in Conway, NC to the late James Clifton and Mabel Jeanette Parke. Dr. Parke was preceded in death by his wife, Laura Jane Burris Parke of Charlotte.

He is survived by his children: Jeanette Arvay Beck, husband Bill Beck, and her daughters Allison, C. C. and Robyn Arvay of Columbia, SC; James David Parke, wife Cally, daughter Mallory and son Connor, of Charlotte; Charles E. Parke, wife Kathy, and son John and daughter Megan of Greenville, SC. He is also survived by his step-children, Debbie and Gale Overcash, and Curtis Overcash and husband Darren Borrilez of Charlotte.

Dr. Parke grew up in Northampton County and attended the public schools. He was a graduate of both UNC-Chapel Hill undergraduate (1949) and Medical School (1954). He began his tour of duty in the U.S. Navy (Charleston, SC) and received specialty training in Pediatrics at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. In the following six years, he practiced general pediatrics in Hartsville, SC and Charlotte, NC. In 1968, he accepted the position of Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Carolinas Medical Center, as well as the Director of their new Pediatric Residency Training Program. During this time, he was named clinical professor of Pediatrics at the UNC-CH School of Medicine. His last 10 years at CMC were spent as Director of Pediatric Research.

Dr. Parke’s 28-year tenure at the Department of Pediatrics had an enormous impact in the Charlotte community and beyond. He trained two generations of pediatricians, blazed trails for infant care and conducted research that has benefited children worldwide. In the 70’s, he founded the Parke Cytogenetics Laboratory and clinical Genetics Program as Charlotte’s first geneticist. In the 80’s, he was actively involved in pediatric vaccine research, including the development of the HIb meningitis vaccine that is now part of all standard infant care. As Charlotte’s first neonatologist, he worked tirelessly to help create Intensive Care Nurseries in all Charlotte area hospitals. He received the Distinguished Service Award from the UNC-CH School of Medicine in 1999 and in 2012, Dr. Parke was awarded the E. Harvey Estes, MD, Physician Community Service Award, by the NC Medical Society.

Dr. Parke was heavily involved in community organizations, including The March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, The Mecklenburg Council for Children, The Child Abuse and Neglect Council, The Mental Health Authority Board, and the Association for Sickle Cell Disease. He was proud to be an Elder at his church, where for many years he taught Sunday School with his wife, Jane. He enjoyed a long retirement with her and his extended family, including seven grandchildren, all of whom benefited from his knowledge and gentle caring manner.

A memorial service will be held on April 7, 2018 at 4:30 p.m. at his church, First Christian Church, 1200 East Blvd, Charlotte, NC. A reception will follow.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be sent to First Christian Church, 1200 East Blvd, Charlotte, NC, 28203, or to the Pediatric Education Foundation Fund, Carolinas Healthcare Foundation, PO Box 32861, Charlotte, NC. 28232-2861: http://www.givecarolinas.org/get-involved/donate/research.