James (Jim) Kent Parker, of Missoula, MT, passed away peacefully June 7, 2020, with his loving and devoted family by his side.
He was born December 31, 1948 in Moscow, Idaho, the son of James Alton ‘Ted’ Parker and Venice Parker. He was the oldest of 3 siblings. On March 30, 1972, he married Carolyn Roberts in the Idaho Falls temple.
Jim began his secondary education at Rick’s College in Rexburg, Idaho before serving a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Paris, France from 1969 to 1971. Upon returning he finished his undergraduate education at the University of Montana and then completed graduate school at the University of Las Vegas with a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology.
Jim is survived by his beloved wife of 48 years, Carolyn Parker, his oldest daughter, Kristin Faye Parker, his son Jakob Benjamin Parker, his daughter and her husband Anna Rebekah and Keith Ater, his daughter and her husband Jennifer Renee and Derek Siemens, his daughter-in-law Stacy Lynn Parker, his cherished grandchildren, Robert “Dillon” Louis Deschamps IV, Devyn Venice Deschamps, Dashel Parker Deschamps, and Jackson Dean Parker and his siblings, sister Margo and her husband Tom Scribner of Walla Walla, Washington and his brother Stephen Parker of Chicago, Illinois and their families.
Jim’s career spanned 41 years with the Western Montana Mental Health Center. He began his career in Thompson Falls, where he managed an outpatient clinic for several years. He then relocated to Missoula where his practice was at the Historical Fort Missoula office as an outpatient therapist. He served the needs of many of Missoula County’s socio-economically challenged population, providing outpatient therapy.
As the Mental Health Center grew, he became the Director of Children’s services at the current location on Wyoming Street. There he tirelessly worked to develop mental health programs in schools from only 3 programs to 50 by the time he retired in 2019. He supervised the growth of children’s case management services as well as children’s psychiatric services, providing needed psychiatric care for children and families. He was a strong advocate for children’s needs in Montana and testified frequently at the legislature in Helena, regarding the promotion and maintenance of those services. He often invited the families of children in need to accompany him to Helena to tell their stories to the legislature as well.
Throughout his career he possessed an innate ability to draw people in, building relationships and engaging with all staff, always encouraging them to use their unique gifts and strengths in their positions and lives. He encouraged personal growth, and a strength- based approach and was an ever-present example of integrity, compassion, creativity, and collaboration. At his farewell celebration, he was described as dedicated, fair, loyal, wise, and patient - all so very true.
Jim was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his life exemplified his faith and values. Throughout his life he held many positions in the church and was devoted to teaching and sharing the gospel of Christ.
In 2019 Jim and Carolyn were humbly called to serve a Senior Mission in Paris, France on behalf of their Church. Their assignment was working in the Paris Archives photographing records for the Family Search genealogy program.
Jim was a member of the Missoula Masonic Lodge 13 and Electa Chapter 7 of Eastern Star. He contributed in many different roles and valued his friendships with fellow members.
Those who know Jim, knew he was passionate about exercise and weightlifting. He loved playing golf with friends and family as well as biking, completing the tour of the swan river valley several times with his wife and children. His dedication to physical fitness was enthusiastically shared and passed on to his children.
Jim’s life was devoted to his family, his faith and his career. His Legacy was one of consistent compassion and integrity and he left an unforgettable imprint on so many hearts and lives.
James's Memorial Folder