OCEANSIDE — Friends and colleagues gathered at Grace Community Church to celebrate the life of Kay Parker on Nov. 17.
Mayor Jim Wood opened the ceremony to share his memories of Parker, followed by her son Steve Parker, her husband Dick Parker, and dozens of friends.
Parker was remembered for her pioneering efforts to help bring affordable housing to Oceanside. She served on the Oceanside Housing Commission for more than 20 years.
It was noted by many that Parker, who stood about 5 feet tall and weighed 100 pounds, had steadfast determination and tireless energy to inform people on the necessity and benefits of affordable housing.
“She was small only in stature,” Councilwoman Esther Sanchez said. “She was very strong about what she believed in. You always need a champion and that’s what she was, revolutionary.”
Several people spoke of Parker’s determination to champion the Marisol Apartments housing project for people with HIV and AIDS despite opposition she faced.
Parker won the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award in 2011 for her work on the Marisol Apartments project.
She also worked on the Lil’ Jackson Senior Community, La Mission Village and Old Grove Apartment housing projects.
“She was the driving force behind many affordable housing projects,” Margery Pierce, neighborhood services director, said. “She will be sorely missed for her passion, knowledge, expertise and willingness to get the job done by the Housing Commission and everyone she helped, even people who don’t know her.”
Other community service work included serving on the KOCT board of directors.
“She was always involved in everything in the city,” Wood said. “Anything to do with people in need.”
“She was a personal friend of mine and my wife,” Wood added.
In addition to her civic work Parker was equally remembered for her grace and kindness.
Several speakers shared that they addressed her as Mrs. Parker because of the respect they had for her.
Many said that Parker believed in them and made them feel like her best friend.
Kay Parker lived from May 16, 1938 to Nov. 8, 2012.
John Seymour, vice president of acquisitions of National Community Renaissance, announced that the family resource center at the Mission Cove affordable housing project will be named in her honor.