Jay H. Parker passed away peacefully on January 23, 2013, in Carmel. He was 91. He is survived by four children: Jeffery (Helen) of Woodbridge, Va.; David (Aletha) of Carmel; Gayle Blazer (Ron) of Reno, Nv.; and Douglas (Kathy) of New Orleans, La.; his brothers William of Groveland, and Robert of Martinez; and eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. His wife Barbara passed before him in 2011.
Born in Philadelphia on June 26, 1921, Jay’s family moved to Marin County when he was a young boy. He often told stories of fishing for abalone and sand dabs on the rocks off of San Francisco Bay and in the Pacific, and trips to San Francisco on the ferry before the Golden Gate Bridge was built. He was one of thousands who first walked across the bridge when it opened in 1937. His family finally settled in San Francisco in 1938. In 1939, Jay enrolled at San Jose State only to be interrupted by the outbreak of WWII.
During WWII, Jay was a fighter pilot for the U.S. Navy, flying Hellcats, Corsairs and Wildcats off the USS Saratoga in the Pacific. He and his VF-12 Squadron saw considerable action at Buka and Bougainville during the Solomon Islands campaign, and he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions at Rabaul. Although Jay was a member of the ‘Greatest Generation,’ he was an even greater hero to his family.
When Jay was on leave in San Francisco in 1943 he met his future bride, Barbara. They wed in 1944 and eventually settled in Los Altos in 1953, where they lived until Barbara’s death in 2011. They were married for 67 years. In 2012, Jay moved to Carmel to be closer to family.
Jay was an avid Giants and 49ers fan, but still closely followed his alma mater, San Jose State, where he briefly played football and boxed for the school. But his two greatest passions in life next to his family were golf and gardening. Jay worked as a claims manager for several companies in the Bay Area before retiring in the early 1980s. As per his wishes, there was no memorial service.