BY JANA NIEMI-LAHNALAMPI
The individual who is being highlighted this month has served Onaping Falls with tremendous dedication. Robert Parker, or Bob as he is better known, has served the Onaping Falls community at multiple levels for several decades.
Bob was an advocate for organized sports in our community. He was the founder, manager and coach of the Onaping Falls Huskie Junior A hockey team. His team development was a catalyst to restoring a two-tier junior A hockey system in Nothern, Ontario. In addition to hockey, Bob managed and played on fastball teams and organized team events within and outside of Onaping Falls.
Parker continued being a leader in his community as a volunteer firefighter and a mine rescue team captain. He is a member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 503 and St. John’s United Church. Because of these dedications, individuals began encouraging him to run for Onaping Falls Town Council. He served on the council from 1978-1983. The most notable achievements on Town Council included the Hardy Industrial Park, the development of the A.Y. Jackson Lookout, and the bridge across the falls to beautiful trails. In 1983, due to the untimely death of former Mayor I.J. Coady, he was appointed Mayor and served for 14 years.
Politically, Bob represented Onaping Falls at the regional council level. He also served on the regions’ planning committee as chair to the Police Services Board and the Nickel District Conservation Authority. But his political influence did not stop there. Bob served as a distinguished Chair of the Federation of Nothern Ontario Municipalities and was a member of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario at the provincial level.
Mr. Parker came to Levack in 1959 after being raised in Nova Scotia. He worked for INCO for 34 years as a member of United Steelworkers 6500. Bob was married for 40 years to his first wife, Marlene (née Conley), an Onaping Falls teacher, until her death in 2001. Bob and Marlene have two sons. Their son Glenn resides in the US. Sadly, their son Brent passed away at the age of two.
Mr. Parker has always been an advocate of volunteerism as it is an impactful way of improving the community, its citizens and their wellbeing. Bob has been a loyal patron for our community’s businesses and encourages our community to support local.
Mr. Parker reflects upon his years of service as an honour and privilege. Now retired, Bob and his spouse Lois relish spending time with their friends and continue to maintain very proud and loyal to the community.