It is with sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of James David Parker Sr. On June 22nd, 2023, after a long illness. Born in Toronto on January 6th, 1945, James is survived by his wife Carol, their sons Andrew (Maureen) and James Jr., his brother Peter and sister Barb, and his grandchildren Madison, Connor, Elliot and Annabelle.
James was surrounded by animals from an early age as his mother bred dogs (mostly Poodles, Yorkies and Fox Terriers) and groomed dogs to supplement the family income from his father, who worked at a local dairy. Later, his mother started a small boarding kennel, and James and his siblings worked in all areas of the business from a young age. The growing success of this small business, then called “Parker Boarding Kennels,” meaning that all the family members were busy supporting the demand for this new service needed by the urban population of Toronto dog and cat owners.
James met his wife, Carol, when she got a summer job with Parker Boarding Kennels in 1961, and they were married in 1965. James and Carol purchased the business from James’ parents and ultimately renamed it “Parker Pet Care,” expanding it to 5 locations in the GTA. They scaled back to the 2 largest locations when the realities of running a business and a growing family became apparent.
James always loved working with his hands and was a skilled handyman, able to build or fix nearly anything. He also loved solving problems by building tools or devices that you could not buy or find - he was an inventor at heart.
Later in life, James loved nothing more than spending time in Florida, where the family had a condo and later a house, and a deep-sea fishing boat. James would happily spend all day on the water, trolling for Mahi-Mahi and Wahoo, and successful trips would end with delicious fried fish for the whole family.
In 2008, after a fall in the family home, James suffered a serious brain injury that led to permanent memory and brain impairment and necessitated that he live in a nursing home for the remainder of his life. This understandably posed significant challenges for him and his family.
Throughout his life, although James appeared very social and outgoing with clients and acquaintances, he was, in reality, a very private person. Reflecting on his personality and his wishes, the family has decided to forego any public service.
Donations to the CNIB Guide Dogs or another animal charity of your choice would be appreciated in lieu of flowers or other gestures.
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