Joseph William Parker passed away on May 30, 2020. He was 90. He was born to George and Nora Parker on Dec. 15, 1929 in Chicago, Illinois. He was the youngest child of four. After the passing of his mother in May of 1938, Joseph was enrolled in a boarding school 90 miles from Chicago. Up until fourth grade, he returned to Chicago’s parish schools. After high school, he entered the Congregation of Alexian Brothers in Tennessee, where he completed his nursing education. Joseph was also working and going to night school, earning his Bachelor’s degree in nursing from DePaul University.
In 1960, he was in charge of overseeing construction, fundraising, designing, and planning the building of a new hospital in San Jose, California. He was appointed Director of Nursing in 1965, when the hospital opened. In 1972, he went to work in a Chicago based hospital and attended night school at Loyola University; earning his Master’s degree, before returning to California in 1972. He became a Nursing Supervisor at the County Hospital in Santa Cruz before transferring to the County Health Services.
He was responsible for initiating the Medical Care Program, which evolved to MediCruz, for the county. He managed the program for 20 years before retiring. He made Watsonville his home in the early 1970’s and was a parishioner of Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church, a member of the parish council, and the Knights of Columbus Council 958 as Past Grand Knight, 4th Degree Padre Palow Assembly Past Faithful Navigator, the City of Watsonville Planning Committee (20 years), on the Board of Directors for the American Cancer Society, Pajaro Valley Historical Society, and briefly, on the Board of Directors of the VNA.
He is preceded in death by his parents, brothers; Robert and George Parker, and sister; Eleanor Pulford. He is survived by his nephews; William and James Jaworski and Jeffrey Parker, nieces; Susan Gross, Gail Petty, and Judith Madonia, 18 grand-nieces and nephews, and his lifelong friends; Michael and Rosemarie Pozzi. A visitation will be held on Friday June 5, 2020 from 9-10:30 am at Mehl’s Colonial Chapel. Mass to follow at 11am at Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church. Burial to be held in Hillside, Illinois at a later date. Due to COVID regulations, attendance will be limited to immediate family and friends at both Mehl’s Colonial Chapel and Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church. No reception is able to be held after services.
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