Retired UM Professor Dr. Stephen Parker dies at 68

Published 4:44 pm Monday, January 15, 2024

By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – The University of Montevallo announced the death of Dr. Stephen Parker, professor emeritus of sociology, through a post to a university Facebook account on the morning of Friday, Jan. 12.

Parker, who died on Jan. 9 after a short battle with pancreatic cancer, had been a full-time faculty member at the University of Montevallo since 1992 prior to his retirement in 2020.

“Dr. Parker’s friends and colleagues will remember him as a thoughtful and inspiring teacher and a valued member of our family of learners who was dedicated to the University—especially the students we serve—and the Montevallo community,” said John Stewart, president of the University of Montevallo. “Many former students regard him as a remarkable professor, noting that he changed their way of thinking and he had a tremendous impact on their college and professional lives.”

Parker educated students on a large number of areas during his time with the university including classes on topics such as social stratification, gender and culture, sociological theory and the sociology of education and popular music. Parker was also a five-term member of the faculty senate and served as president of the body two times, first from 2005-2006 and again from 2016-2017.

“On behalf of the entire University, Cindi and I express our deep condolences to his family and his loved ones,” Stewart said.

In addition to his multiple publications in the American Journal of Sociology, Journal of contemporary Ethnography and Sociology of Education, Parker also co-authored a book alongside Donna Eder and Kathy Evans that received the North Central Sociological Association’s “Scholarly Achievement Award.” That book, “School Talk: Gender and Adolescent Culture,” was first published in 1995 and can currently be purchased through multiple sites, including Amazon.

Outside of the university, Parker was immensely dedicated to his family and was involved in his church. He was known for leading Sunday school classes, overseeing church youth groups and occasionally providing a sermon to the congregation.

“He was a father, teacher, coach, friend and mentor who impacted the lives of countless people over the years,” read a eulogy posted in his memory. “He found joy in life’s simple pleasures and cared deeply about everything he was involved in.”

A memorial service for Parker was held at University Baptist Church in Montevallo on Saturday, Jan. 13 that both honored and celebrated his life, family and many accomplishments.

Parker’s family is encouraging donations in lieu of flowers be made toward the scholarship fund being created in his honor. Donations can be offered to that cause at Montevallo.edu/give/annual-giving.