James Russell Parker

December 04, 2023

James Russell Parker, born in Chicago on January 16, 1933, passed away with his children by his side on Saturday, December 2nd, 2023.  He was a husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, an architect, engineer, inventor, business owner, entrepreneur, veteran, and lifelong learner. He was beloved by his wife, Bernadette (d: 2017), his family, and many friends.

He was proud, protective, discerning, hardworking and tenacious. He had many passions and always sought opportunities to excel or attain distinction. From his time in the army stationed in Germany, to his long career at Canteen Corporation, to his design and construction of multiple homes, to his restaurant ownership, to patenting an invention of his own late in life, he was not known for sitting still!

He admired visionaries and entrepreneurs and never lost his own entrepreneurial spirit. Even this past year, while battling debilitating illnesses, he was intently pursuing firsthand knowledge of patent law.

He was dedicated in his pursuit of expertise and experience in a variety of fields, and could be found taking classes at the College of DuPage well into his 80s. His love of learning found its soul match in Rosemary Coleman, an artist and professor of English with whom he shared many happy memories late in life, and who preceded him in death in 2021 from COVID.

His loved ones knew him for his loyalty to the Bears, his favorite movies, his pride in his Sicilian roots, his napkin doodles of buildings and inventions, his typewritten notes when his handwriting grew too shaky, and surveying the homes he built while they were in progress.

His memory lives on in his two children, Catherene Tompkins and James Christopher Parker, his son-in-law, Scott Tompkins, his four grandchildren: Elizabeth (London), Daniel (Natalie), Cristina (Alejandro)and Julia, and his great-granddaughter Tabitha.

He will be greatly missed.

Funeral Mass will be held Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023 at 11 A.M. at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Lisle, IL. Visitation will be in the Church narthex from 10 A.M. till time of Mass. Interment Mt. Carmel Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, please prayerfully consider a donation to St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church. Arrangements entrusted to Cappetta’s West Suburban Funeral Home & Cremation Services. Info 630-852-8000 or westsuburbanfh.com