Dr. James William Parker, 77, founder of the Parker College of Chiropractic in Dallas and Parker Chiropractic Resource Foundation in Fort Worth, died Friday, November 7th, in a Dallas hospital after a long recuperation from endarterectomy and bypass surgery several weeks preciously. He was born September 20, 1920 in Snyder, Texas.
A graduate of the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, Class of July, 1946, Dr. Parker established two successful chiropractic clinics in Illinois before moving to Fort Worth in 1947, eventually opening 18 clinics throughout the State of Texas, including Fort Worth, Houston, Beaumont, Baytown and Austin.
Dr. Parker was the youngest of five children. As a child, he was frail and suffered from asthma and poor eyesight. His poor health prevented him from beginning school full-time until he was nine years old. His family moved to Meridian, Texas where he worked for the Meridian Tribune until graduating from high school. Later he worked his way through Tyler Commercial College, still suffering from numerous illnesses. He completed his course of study in six and one-half months instead of the usual nine months, finishing at the top of his class of 44 students.
After returning to Meridian, Dr. Parker was hired as a Page for State Senator Karl Lovelady in Austin and attended the University of Texas and also worked in the Texas Insurance Checking Office as a clerk.
In 1942 he read an ad in the Austin newspaper describing a man with ailments similar to his own, who had been cured through chiropractic treatments. He quickly began treatments from Dr. Roy E. LaMond. Within four months his eyesight improved and he had gained 35 pounds. Unable to get a driver’s license and turned down in the World War II draft due to his health limitations, his eyesight improved over the next few years, allowing him to pass his driver’s test and even get a private pilot’s license. The successful chiropractic treatments lead Dr. Parker to decide to become a Doctor of Chiropractic. However, his plans were delayed by World War II. He went to Ogden, Utah, where he worked for the government, worked for a railroad, sold cars and attended Weber College.
In 1943, he enrolled in what is now the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. While working in the college print shop, he noticed old issues of Dr. Palmer’s The Chiropractic Educator, a monthly college publication, in the back of the shop. He negotiated to buy the publications for $200, arranged the issues in chronological order, numbered each page by hand and devised a cross-referenced subject index. He then compiled them with a cover and mailed the books to chiropractors, asking $5 for the book or to return it. He quickly sold all the books. This experience pointed out to Dr. Parker the need for chiropractic literature, while also providing him funds for paying his tuition.
Following graduation from Palmer College, he moved to Fort Worth and opened his first Texas practice on September 18th, 1946. On his opening day, he had only 12 cents in his pocket, but earned $3 by noon that day.
Within 18 months he had enlarged his clinic, added to his staff and was serving more than 300 patients a day. His success lead to the opening of 18 successful chiropractic clinics across Texas.
In 1951, he began the Parker Chiropractic Resource Foundation (PCRF) which resulted in seminars worldwide, which was taught through the Parker School for Professional Success (PSPS). In 1971, he created Share International, the world’s largest supplier of chiropractic products. Dr. Parker traveled extensively, teaching more than 500,000 Doctors of Chiropractic and their assistants in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Manila, China, Japan, Hawaii and other parts of the world. There have been 356 PSPS Seminars to date.
In September, 1982, Dr. Parker opened the Parker College of Chiropractic in Dallas serving nearly 1,300 with some 400 employees and faculty members. He served as President of the College until September of 1996 when he was succeeded by his eldest son Dr. W. Karl Parker.
As founder and President of Parker College Dr. Parker expanded the original Irving campus with 27 students, making it today the third largest fastest growing and youngest chiropractic college in the world With an enrollment of almost 1,300 students and 27 acres on the Dallas campus purchased in 1989. In July 1996, Dr. Parker celebrated 50 years in chiropractic with over 3,000 friends, colleagues, dignitaries and students in attendance. Serving as President of the Parker College of Chiropractic, the Parker Chiropractic Resource Found-ation and Share International, Dr Parker gained an international reputation as a speaker, author, educational leader and visionary in the chiropractic field shaping the destiny of the profession for the last five decades. Seven honorary degrees were bestowed on him and numerous citizens awards from several cities, states and countries. Dr. Parker received commendations from state chiropractic associations and from dozens of chiropractic groups throughout the world, including the American Chiropractic Association and the International Chiropractic Association for securing more members than any other in the association’s history.
He led a march in Washington DC in 1978 to petition the Department of Health, Education and Welfare to grant the same rights and privileges to Doctors of Chiropractic as it did to medical doctors. He was also instrumental in convincing Louisiana legislators to license chiropractors.
During his hundreds of seminars, Dr. Parker hosted famous guest speakers including former President Ronald Reagan, Art Linkletter, Bob Cummings, Robert Schuller, Melvin Belli, Herb True, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Bob Hope and Dr. Joyce Brothers. From 1963 to 1970 Dr. Parker traveled to other countries seven times and circled the globe twice conducting has Seminars. In 1989, Dr. Parker was honored for his 44 years of service to chiropractic education by more than 8,000 chiropractic professionals during the 300th Parker Seminar in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Dr. Parker developed what he called “The Science of Being Naturally Right” based on “Loving Service, My First Technique” as part of his famed “Love Concept” that results in success in life, practice and relationships.
His students, both at Parker College and within the profession honored him several times. In 1960, he was presented with a bronze bust of himself valued at $25,000. In 1970, he was presented with a scroll signed by 1,000 doctors naming him “Chiropractor of the Century.” In 1978 he was given a Silver Wraith II Rolls Royce by 2,000 fellow doctors in recognition of his years of service to the chiropractic profession. A museum located on the Parker College of Chiropractic campus is dedicated to his achievements.
Dr. Parker’s survivors include sons Dr. W. Karl Parker, now President of Parker College, Dr. James W. Parker Jr., a 1996 graduate of Parker College and Dr. John Parker, a 1994 graduate of Parker College.
“Act with love, react with faith.”