Obituary: Father Edmund Parker, former North Reading pastor dies

A Boston native and son of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, commonly called the Mission Church in the city’s Roxbury section, Father Edmund Parker grew up in the parish and attended its schools. His late parents were Edmund and Anne (Glynn) Parker. After attending the archdiocesan seminaries, Father Parker was ordained at Holy Name Church in West Roxbury on Feb. 2, 1956 by Boston auxiliary Bishop Eric F. MacKenzie.?Following his ordination he was assigned as assistant at St. Mary Parish, Winchester. This would be the first of several assignments to archdiocesan parishes. In 1963 he was named to St. Michael Parish, North Andover; and in 1967 to St. Thomas of Villanova Parish, Wilmington.?Between 1973 and 1984 he would be an associate at three more parishes: St. Joseph, Medford (1973-1976); St. Matthew, Dorchester (1976-1977) and St. Mary of the Annunciation, Melrose (1977-1984).?Archbishop Bernard Law named him administrator of St. Theresa of Lisieux Parish in North Reading on Oct. 2, 1984; and on New Year’s Day of the following year, he was named pastor of the parish. The sole parish in North Reading underwent great change in demographics with an increase in general and Catholic population during his time as pastor.?Following his service at North Reading he was granted a sabbatical and participated in a program of priestly renewal and on his return to the archdiocese he was named a parochial vicar first at St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Woburn and in June 1995 to St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish, Acton.?Archbishop Seán P. O’Malley, OFM Cap. granted him senior priest/retirement status on July 1, 2003 when he moved to Regina Cleri Residence. When deteriorating health required more care, Father Parker moved to St. Patrick Manor in Framingham. He died there on Jan. 20, 2008.?Father John Daley was the principal celebrant of his funeral Mass celebrated Jan. 23 at St. Joseph Parish in Boston’s West End. Homilist for the Mass was another friend of Father Parker’s, Father Eugene P. Curtin. Among the other concelebrants were Fathers Thomas Keane and Lawrence Wetterholm, both of Regina Cleri; Father Robert Kickham, secretary to Cardinal O’Malley, and Msgr. James Tierney, director of Regina Cleri.?Following the funeral Mass, Father Parker was buried in St. Joseph Cemetery, West Roxbury. His immediate survivors are two brothers, Thomas and John Parker, both of Lady Lake, Fla.