Larry "Mario" Parker
June 25, 1948 to August 19, 2022
If you ever met Larry "Mario" Parker, you would know immediately that he lived a very full and enviable life. His existence was the personification of La Dolce Vita and he always had a passion for speed, toys with speed and projects completed with speed. As a result, Larry's nearly 75 years were filled with what would take any other human 125 years. His true love, starting from when they first became high school sweethearts, 57 years ago, was always his wife Ellen. Together they built a beautiful life with son Kris and daughter Jessica,. their three grandchildren, Margot, Merrick and Mitchell and Kris' wife, Tracy.
Larry, always loved cars and as a child was able to name most even before his own family members. He tinkered with cars as a teenager and after graduating Pratt Institute took that zeal for automobiles to Ford, then Chrysler, Delco Remy and ultimately to his favorite career role as President at Roush Performance. He was not just a race car enthusiast but a skilled race car driver (as well as long-time motorcycle and boating enthusiast), and up until very recently, either competed in or test drove his favorite tracks around the country. Often recognized as a veritable “MacGyver,” Larry could fix just about anything from mechanical to household projects. Larry was always there to help others. His penchant for finding solutions made him a patented inventor and successful entrepreneur in his never-really-retired years. Larry was a sun worshiper, perpetually tan and never missed a sunset. With a toasting cocktail in hand, Larry saw every sunset as if it were the first one he'd ever seen. Larry was never bashful to tell you his life experiences, and would delight others with the good fortune he had with family, career, world travels and of course, great food. He had the ultimate appetite for life! Anyone who spent time with Larry knew he treasured his Yonkers-born, mostly Italian heritage. He had the benefit of growing up as the eldest of five boys and now leaves his wife, children, grandchildren and brothers Wally and wife Linda, Russell and wife DiDi, and Lee and wife Jordana, to replay immeasurable amounts of great memories with boundless laughs. Join the Parker family and remember Larry for his carpe diem attitude and love for a life worth living. In lieu of flowers or donations, the family asks that you look west at sunset, raise a glass, and toast our beloved Larry.
Andrew Anderson (1966)
My heart goes out to Ellen and the rest of the family. Larry was a fun guy and a good friend. One of Larry's early engineering projects was a mini-bike that we began to build with an engine from an abandoned lawn mower. That vehicle never made it to the road, but later efforts over the course of his career were, apparently, more successful. Perhaps we encouraged each other in such pursuits as we both took degrees in mechanical engineering.
In keeping with his love for speed sports, Larry was part of the first skateboarding crew at PHS, including Russ Schmidt, Ron Tuma, and me. I also remember riding with Larry to a demolition derby at Orange County Raceway. Glenn Pedrick (1964?) drove us in his 1940 Ford coupe.
Most vividly, I recall one time when Larry picked me up with his dad's VW beetle. Neither of us had driver licenses, but Larry's parents had gone out for the evening, so he was able to "borrow" the car. Larry was teaching me to drive a stick shift: great fun! At school the next morning, Larry related that his folks had come home early and were waiting for him. What a chilling tale! He was grounded for a while after that.
Some of you may remember that Larry's dad was a news announcer on WABC AM. Sometimes, we'd be riding around listening to Cousin Brucie on the car radio and we'd hear, in resonant tones, "Hello, Wally Parker with the news.". The gang thought it was pretty neat to be so close to fame. It was also a treat when you called the Parker house and Mr. Parker answered in that full baritone. I always felt like saying "You don't need to talk like that Mr. Parker, it's just me" but I never did.
As requested by his family, I will raise a glass. Smooth riding buddy!
Charleen Duffie (Caulk) (1966)
Ellen, You and your family have my deepest sympathies. Larry was such a great person and I am glad he had such a full life with you, I remember when we both were at Drew University and you had a car to sometimes drive home to Paramus and you would kindly give me a ride. And our mothers worked together as school secretaries. It was my honor to know you and Larry and I will have you and your family in my prayers.
Love, Charleen Duffie Caulk