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Daughter, Seufer remember Williamstown councilman

Say Parker, who lost battle with COVID-19, leaves a lasting impact

Jim Parker and his wife Lori Parker. According to daughter Jessica Huffman, “they were soulmates.” (Photo provided by Jessica Huffman)

WILLIAMSTOWN — Williamstown City Councilmember Jim Parker, 52, passed away late Tuesday night from complications due to COVID-19 at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio, according to his daughter Jessica Huffman.

“He was on life support and the medical team really did everything they could,” Huffman said Wednesday.

According to Huffman, earlier this fall Parker had noticed a low-grade fever while at a work site for his job. Parker was the Regional Manager for Smith Concrete Company, which has a plant in Belpre.

Parker then went into quarantine until he was safely released by the health department and feeling better, according to Huffman.

“He and my mother took all the necessary precautions,” Huffman said.

However, in late October, Parker fell ill again and was admitted to Marietta Memorial Hospital, where he was placed on a ventilator within 24 hours, according to Huffman.

“The hard thing about COVID is there’s so many symptoms and it’s hard to know if you are sick with that or something else,” Huffman said.

Soon thereafter, Parker was life-flighted to Columbus at his family’s request, where he remained until he passed away on Dec. 1.

“He talked about how scared he was when he found out he had COVID,” Huffman said. “He was scared for his family and coworkers and the idea he could have potentially spread it … he was always very adamant about following protocol such as wearing masks and following the guidelines.”

Parker’s wife of nearly 20 years, Lori Parker, had also tested positive for COVID-19, but was discharged from Marietta Memorial Hospital and was able to travel to be with her husband in his final moments, according to Huffman.

“Their 20th wedding anniversary was actually in about two weeks,” Huffman said. “It is so sad they will miss that milestone.”

Councilmember Martin Seufer, who says he became really good friends with Parker while they served together on Williamstown City Council, offered his sympathy.

“I think the two biggest attributes about Jim were that you knew he loved his family and he liked to laugh,” Seufer said. “He was a guy you couldn’t help but like, and he really cared about the city … an all-around good guy and a devastating blow to Williamstown.”

According to Williamstown City Code article 121, council will need to appoint a new council member to fulfill the remainder of Parker’s term, which is roughly one and half years, according to documentation and Seufer.

It was Huffman and the rest of her family who encouraged Parker to run for Williamstown City Council after they realized it would be a good outlet for his nature of service.

“He was the kind of person to give the shirt off of his back, and he went out of the way to help people,” Huffman said. “I don’t think he really truly realized his impact.”

Parker was also incredibly passionate about the Williamstown Food Pantry, according to Huffman, and the family will likely decide to request donations in lieu of flowers.

“My family wants to be open about this experience because it is real,” Huffman said. “I think we all need to do our part to keep the community safe.”

In one of his last communications with his family before being placed on life support, Parker sent an email that Huffman was willing to share.

“I have learned there is nothing more important than taking care of your fellow human beings,” Parker said on October 22.

Jenna Pierson can be reached at jpierson@newsandsentinel.com

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