She was born in Batavia, N.Y., on Nov. 13, 1925, to Henry H. and Monica Hanley Minor.
As a young girl she developed a lifelong love for horses. Later, while attending Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., she met and subsequently married Daniel S. Parker, on Oct. 10, 1945.
They spent many years in Janesville, Wis., where they raised four children. While Dan served as president, CEO, and chairman of the board for The Parker Pen Company, she entertained an endless flow of business and personal visitors from all over the world. When he was later appointed to serve as administrator of the Agency for International Development in the Nixon and Ford administrations, she put these same skills to good use again at their home in Washington, D.C., hosting the likes of Henry Kissinger, William P. Rogers, and many prominent politicians of the era. Following government service, they moved to the Charleston, S.C., area, where they eventually divorced.
She chose to once again pursue her love of horses. She established the widely respected Cross Creek Farm in Cleveland. As owner, breeder, trainer, and exhibitor of American Saddlebreds, she brought one World Champion after another into the show ring. She served on the boards of both the American Saddlebred Association and Museum and the 4-H Club of America.
In 2003 she moved to Easton, Md., where her love of plants and flowers brought many to visit and admire her exquisite gardens.
In 2009, she chose to settle in Chapel Hill. She was known to all for her caring and deeply loving advice, and had wide reserves of wonderful friends, all of whom she cherished.
She is survived by her brother, Henry “Bud” Minor of Vero Beach, Fla., and Canandaigua, N.Y.; her children: Geoffrey Parker (Kearby) of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Steven Parker (Linda) of New York, N.Y., Jennifer Parker (Peter Rosenberg) of Hillsborough, N.C.; and Sarah Parker Daniels (Josh) of Isle of Palms, S.C.; seven grandchildren: Douglas Parker (Alicia), Christopher Coleon (Elizabeth), Adrienne Coleon Gaskell (Devin), Olivia Coleon, Matthew Parker, Kathryn Parker, and Sarah Parker Topping; three great-grandchildren: Sophie, Roger, and Charlotte; and her devoted caregiver, Claudia Palacios.
A memorial service will be held at University Presbyterian Church in Chapel Hill Saturday, March 16, 2013, at 1 p.m., with visitation from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday morning at the Walker Funeral Home.
The family will host a reception at Ms. Parker’s home following the service. Burial will occur one week later in Batavia, N.Y.
The family has requested that donations be made to Tri State Exhibition Center, 200 Natures Trail, McDonald TN 37353, in lieu of flowers.