The Heroines

Annette Malmberg Parker

is honored with a Brick from Tim, Sabrina, Jeff, Margaret, Leslie and Ned.

 Annette Malmberg Parker The four children of Annette Parker grew up in four different states and were blessed with many fine teachers, advisors, coaches, and church leaders as mentors. But the woman who most strongly influenced our lives was our mother, who we honor at the Plaza of Heroines at WSU, the school from which she graduated in 1962.

Never one to be intimidated by the new or the unknown, our mother and her husband, Ned, moved their young family to a remote island in Alaska shortly after they graduated from college. And although she raised her family for many years in places such as Alaska, Nevada, and Utah - a thousand miles from any relatives - she kept us so involved in our community, our school, and our church, that we felt as though we were always part of a large, extended family. Almost every night of the week was filled with scouting, basketball, band practice, school plays, or church youth group activities. She taught us not only of the life-enriching value of a sense of adventure and a love of travel, but also of the fulfillment that comes from community involvement.

She threw her full support to each of us in our activities, even though she worked full-time as an educator. At one time she had children playing simultaneously on high school, junior high, and grade school basketball teams. But she never missed a home or away game, even though it meant she had to spend five or six nights a week in smelly school gymnasiums and sometimes had to make long drives alone in bad weather. And so she taught us, by example, of the value of strong family commitments.

Our mother's influence was perhaps most strongly felt during the hard times. Despite the almost unbearable pain of losing her brilliant, athletic, and talented son, Christopher - at age 17, her faith in God persevered. And so she taught us the value of faith. And only the family of a basketball coach could understand the meaning of the phrase, "a special place in heaven is reserved for coach's wives."

Mom repeatedly told us we could be anything we wanted to be if we studied hard and were willing to work. She supported us as we pursued careers in law, health care and business. And then we watched her go back to college to obtain a Master's degree so that she would be better able to teach children with special needs. And so she continues to teach children with special needs. And so she continues to teach her adult children, through example, that education and assistance to others are lifelong pursuits.

Because there are a million little things about the way she lives her life--always looking for the good in other people, the strong social conscience, the desire to help others, the compassion she shows for the most vulnerable members of society, the volunteering, the church work, her love of science fiction, and Siamese cats, her dedication to her career, her service on the school board, the care she provides to her elderly parents, and her wonderful grandmothering skills--she taught us that taking the high road leads to fulfillment, inner peace, and a life well-lived.

Mom, you'll always be our hero.

Submitted by her loving children, Tim, Chris, Sabrina, and Jeff

September 18, 1998