Thursday, June 13, 2013

Farewell, Joan Parker

This is sad news, quoted from The Boston Globe:
Joan Parker, the philanthropist and widow of mystery writer Robert B. Parker, has died. Parker, a longtime Cambridge [Massachusetts] resident, died Tuesday, according to Helen Brann, a longtime friend and agent to Robert B. Parker. Joan Parker had been diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer in August 2011, and was receiving treatment. A tireless fundraiser for a host of different charities, Parker was barely slowed by her illness. Last month, she co-chaired the annual fund-raiser of PFLAG, a national nonprofit supporting parents, families, and friends of lesbians and gays. (Parker’s two children, Dan and David, are both gay.)
You’ll recall that Bob Parker, who created the very popular fictional Boston private eye Spenser, died in January 2010 at age 77--but not before repeatedly dedicating his many novels to his wife, the former Joan Hall, whom he fell in love with during a freshman dance at Maine’s Colby College in 1950, while they were both students there. The pair were married in 1956. She went to become the inspiration for the character of Spenser’s longtime girlfriend, Susan Silverman, a school guidance counselor turned psychologist.

I hadn’t expected Joan Parker to perish quite so soon after her husband’s demise. I never met her (though I did once share frappés with author Parker), but I was always given to understood that she was a woman of tremendous drive, and not one to succumb easily to the demands of death. Fortunately, she was also committed to continuing her husband’s legacy, and put the Spenser series into the capable, respectful hands of Ace Atkins before she passed away.

(Hat tip to Kevin R. Tipple.)

READ MORE:Robert B. Parker Is Dead! Long Live Robert B. Parker!,” by Zac Bissonnette (The Boston Globe Magazine).


Kevin R. Tipple said...

Thank you for the mention. I'm honored.

I too an saddened by the passing of Joan. I know a little something about cancer thanks to what my wife has gone through in recent years and lung cancer is a difficult long term situation. What role that ultimately played in her passing, I do not know, but I am sure it was a contributing factor.

Yvette said...

So sad and so soon after her husband. I hadn't realized she was that ill.

I always remember a piece I read somewhere (where I can't remember) about the Parkers' lives in Boston and the pictures of their beautiful townhouse interiors.

Parker's devotion to his wife was always so touching, I thought. That was a real love story.

I've read the first of Ace Atkins' continuation of the Spenser saga and I agree, the legacy is in very capable hands.