Calvin Parker was one of my most esteemed missionary colleagues in Japan, a valuable mentor, and a dear friend. He passed away on December 22, and his memorial service is being held today in Mars Hill, North Carolina.
F. Calvin Parker (1926-2010)
I first met Calvin on September 1, 1966, the day June & I and our two children (at the time) arrived in Japan. For roughly the next two years we lived less than five minutes by car from where Calvin and his wife Harriett lived in Shibuya, Tokyo. They were our very helpful sempai (senior colleagues) during that time.
Calvin soon invited me to attend a monthly theological book discussion group with him. During the grueling time of language school, those meetings were one of the major highlights of each month for me, both because of the high quality of the discussions and because of the conversation with Calvin going and coming each time.
Calvin was a man of great integrity and humility, in the best sense of the word. And he was a scholar; he knew how to do research, how to write, and, most importantly, how to think, how to analyze and synthesize.
In the summer of 1968, June and I moved to Fukuoka in southwest Japan, but then in 1980 Calvin and Harriet moved to the same city. Calvin became my colleague in the Department of Theology at Seinan Gakuin University. His levelheaded participation in our faculty meetings was very helpful, and it was a real loss to our department when he retired in 1988.