Gail Parker

Nov. 17, 2022

Gail “Brent” Parker passed away peacefully on November 17, 2022 with his family by his side. Brent was born November 2, 1946 to Bryce and Corrinne (née Osborn) and raised in Oakland, Iowa. He was preceded in death by his first wife Debra, his son Jared, and his younger brother Dick. He is survived by his wife Suzanne, children Travis and Laura, children-in-law John and Jenni, older brother Monte (Lynn), and four grandchildren. He was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer in 2020, but spent his last year in comfort working on his acreage and spending time with his family and friends.

After a high school trip to New York City, Brent fell in love with travel, first hitchhiking through Europe before spending two years in Ecuador in the Peace Corps and eventually visiting every continent except Antarctica in his world travels. His journeys took him to far flung destinations like Singapore, New Zealand, South Africa, and many parts of Europe and the Americas.

Brent was a man of strong character who dedicated his life to service, of both people and nature. Using his agricultural and environmental engineering degrees from Iowa State University, he built irrigation systems in Ecuador and designed farms in Singapore. He spent a career protecting groundwater and improving sanitation processes in Iowa both for Jasper County and the State of Iowa. He was a long-standing member of the Partners of the Americas organization, making dozens of educational and service trips to the Yucatan peninsula and hosting Mexican visitors to Iowa. Brent led annual service and cultural exchange trips to the Lakota Nation.

He also loved and served his local community. Brent was a founding member of the Wittemberg Church Historical Society, coordinating the purchase and restoration of the historic Wittemberg Church outside of Newton. For much of his life, he attended and served at the Newton Congregational United Church of Christ. In retirement, he served as a docent at the Jasper County Historical Museum.

Everyone who knew Brent was touched by his kindness, generosity, and positivity. His life will be celebrated at 11:00 am on December 10th, 2022 at the Newton Congregational United Church of Christ. There will also be a memorial tree planting April 22, 2023 at Wittemberg Church. In lieu of flowers, please feel free to donate to the Wittemberg Church Historical Society or the Congregational UCC. Wittemberg donations may be sent to 509 E 25th St N, Newton, IA 50208 or may be left at the Pence Reese Funeral Home.