Cowley citizens gathered at the Cowley Museum upstairs at the historic town hall to honor a man who has given much to the community, especially in the areas of historic preservation and veterans affairs.
Jimmie Parker was honored Thursday evening, March 17, in a friendly gathering of Cowley history lovers and town officials.
Historian Roland Simmons read and expanded upon a life history written by Marguerite Strom from information provided by Jimmie’s mother Linda, who proudly sat in attendance with her son.
Jimmie Parker, 56, was born Aug. 22, 1959, in Cody, and as time went by the family noticed that he “was not as active or progressing as little boys his age should,” Simmons read. Even though he was “slow,” Simmons read, doctors said he would be just fine, although he did not talk until he was about 10 years old.
He attended school in Cowley and Deaver, and Linda credits teacher Ruth Seitz in Deaver for working with and helping Jimmie. He also attended school in Lovell and Thermopolis, then worked in Jackson through a supervised work program.
Jimmie worked for father LeRoy’s pig farm south of Cowley, and after LeRoy died, brother Richard helped him, and he later went to work for Max and Judy Gifford, helping with their animals.
“Jimmie would walk to the Gifford home, which would be clear across town from the north to the south,” Simmons read. “He would feed and water the animals and take care of their needs and walk back home. If the weather was really nasty his mom would give him a ride.
Later, Jimmie obtained a three-wheeled cycle to get around in, and while he hated it at first, he now “wouldn’t give the bike up for anything,” Simmons read, adding, “It gets him to work, to the lumber yard to buy up a few nails or something he would need for a project, or just downtown to the Merc.” He always proudly paid for items at the store or lumber yard, rather than charge them, Simmons said.
Jimmie loves hard work, and he loves TV programs on the History Channel, Discovery and the like, Simmons said.
“If you know Jimmie, he is a very knowledgeable person,” Simmons read. “He answers many questions that are asked of the class in Sunday school, and he can make a lot of us listen and think to ourselves that we could have come up with an answer as good as that. His mom says sometimes she is amazed at his knowledge.
“Jimmie likes to work on projects and write down ideas and draw pictures to show how he sees this project. He is a person who wants to see things done.”
Parker has donated many items to the museum over the years, Simmons said, so the museum has designated a special place in the facility for Jimmie’s items and has named him an honorary historian.
Mayor Joel Peterson called Parker an idea man who has come up with many ideas he’d like to see incorporated into the community, adding, “I’ve never met a more giving soul than Jimmie. If there’s someone in need, the first one there is Jimmie. I appreciate you.”
Peterson said Parker has a “grand idea” for a veterans museum in Cowley, and the town council is in total agreement.
“We’d like to see our veterans memorial improved, and all of us should take a page out of Jimmie’s book,” Peterson said. “It’s not so much what you have, it’s what you bring to others. This is truly fitting.”
Simmons urged the audience to wave at Jimmie when they see him on his bike, calling him “a great man and a great asset to our community.”
Parker expressed thanks to the assembled crowd for the honor and encouraged others to donate items to the museum. He said he will donate a shirt designed by students as a class project many years ago, a shirt he said is “like an Archie shirt.”
A reception followed the presentations.
By David Peck