Dirk Emmet Parker

May 16, 1957 ‒ February 10, 2021

Gloucester, Virginia

Dirk Emmet Paul Luke Parker, (A.K.A. DIRKO, Mr. Parker, Daddio, The Dude, & Bro.) The Man, the Myth, the Legend, passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, February 10, 2021.

Dirk’s memory will be cherished and kept alive by his beloved wife Theresa; his children, Frederic Parker, Allyson Elkatcha (George, Ellowyn, Baby E arriving any day), Emily Parker (Scarlette, Juliana); his brothers, Drew Parker (Tammy), Dean Parker (Teri), Donn Parker (Shelly); his sister, Dene Slusser; his brother-in-law, Daniel Slusser; his step-children, Katelyn Murter (Jacob), Alex Gibbs (Danielle), Aleena Antle (Henry, Holden), Natalie Antle (Rielyn, Grayson, Amelia), Samson Bevins, Salena Bevins, Sydney Bevins, and Lydia Hartzler; and so many nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends that we cannot list them all. Dirk was proceeded in death by his father, Donald W. Parker; mother, Beverly Parker-Bertoia; his step-father; Pete Bertoia; his brother, Dana Parker; his niece, Kali’ Parker; and sister-in-law, Tammy Parker.

Dirk was born at Riverside Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, on May 16, 1957. He graduated from St. Francis DeSales High School in 1975. He took pride in attending “THE” Ohio State University, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. “Buckeye Born, and Buckeye Bred, and When I Die, I’ll be Buckeye Dead!” A Buckeye fan, he truly was.

Dirk and his mother were founders of the first Dirko’s Pizza in Columbus, Ohio, in 1980. He was the first groundskeeper at Schnormeier Gardens in Gambier, Ohio. He claimed this to be one of his greatest professional accomplishments and the garden was his sanctuary. Dirk felt privileged to have been a Child & Family Advocate in the Mt. Vernon City Schools for several years where he touched the lives of so many families eventually becoming Advocate of the Year. Coaching baseball was one of his greatest joys in life. He stated, “The Little Engine That Could” was the greatest baseball book ever written. “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” Always instilling confidence in his players. He taught many kids the game he loved. He had such a compassionate, kind heart, and was honored to serve as a 10-year volunteer with Hospice of Knox County. He also spent several summers as a counselor at Hospice’s “Camp Hope” helping children cope with the loss of a loved one.

Dirk was a free spirit and had such a passion and joy for living. He worked hard, played hard, and loved even harder. He was a humble man and claimed, “I am who I am.” With Dirk, you got what you got and he was not ashamed of who he was. Dirk was a man of many adventures. He loved the beach, skiing, camping, and dancing. He truly was the “Life of the Party”. “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space!” This was one of the many mottos he lived by.

The oldest of six, he loved his siblings very much and was diligent about keeping in touch with them even when separated by distance. He made sure they knew how much he loved them. He was a family man and was always looking out for his siblings. They truly have stuck together through thick and thin, and as much as he has had their backs, they have also always had his. He was proud of where he came from, the stories he had, and mainly the memories he continued to make throughout their lives.

Those who knew Dirk, knew that being a father was Dirk’s greatest joy in life. He was so proud of his kids. Not only was he a great father, he was a great mentor. He sacrificed his entire life to be the best dad a child could ask for and THAT he REALLY was. He was not afraid to stand up for what he believed in and took pride in raising his children to be independent, just like him. Being a “Paw-Paw” brought him so much happiness. Dirk had been excitedly awaiting the birth of his fourth grandchild, who will be arriving very soon.

Dirk married the love of his life, Theresa, on May 1, 2019. They dated in the 1980s and fate brought them back together again. There was no doubt that she was Dirk’s angel and brought so much love and care to his world. They spent the last year achieving their dream of opening Daddio’s Subs & Stuff in Gloucester, Virginia, where customers are greeted with, “What’s up Daddio?” in honor of his dear late friend Uncle Wally. This brought many smiles to many faces.

He truly achieved everything his heart had desired in life. Those who know him, KNOW Heaven just got a little bit brighter.

A Celebration of Dirk’s life will be held at Devore-Snyder Funeral Home (637 North State Route 61 in Sunbury, Ohio) on Saturday February 20, 2021. Calling hours will be held from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the funeral home. The family is requesting a laid-back, casual event in memory of Dirk (wear your favorite t-shirt). The funeral service will be private – family only – but will be live streamed at 6:00 pm. Contributions can be made in Dirk’s memory to Hospice of Knox County (17700 Coshocton Ave., Mt. Vernon, OH, 43050).  DeVore-Snyder Funeral Home has been entrusted with the arrangements and is honored to serve the Parker family.  Memories of Dirk and condolences may be posted to www.snyderfuneralhomes.com.

  • I am still so heart broken for his family and those of us friends that were lucky enough to know and be apart of Dirko’s life. I will always smile when I think of him!

  • Dear Family: My deepest condolences to all of you. It was not just a privilege to have known Dirk, but to have loved him as a true friend. He brought such joy and vitality to all of us a Pleasant St. School. He wasn’t just a student advocate. He was a family advocate. His energy and devotion to children in need was admired by all of us.
    We will miss him.
    I will miss him.
    With prayers for solace and comfort,
    Mary C. Rugola-Dye

  • I am so sorry for your loss. I have great memories of Dirk at the golf course and the years we played darts. He was a nice guy and will be missed by many. Thoughts and prayers for you and your family.

  • Dirk was so full of life, he was always smiling. Helping anyone in need. He will be greatly missed by many. I am proud to be able to say he was a friend! We will miss you my friend.

  • Dirk never knew a stranger. After being around him, you felt wanted and valued as a friend. He was invaluable at PSES as child advocate and could relate to some of our most difficult parents. I know at times Dirk went through hard times but he never complained. He was always the person you wanted to be around at a party because he loved having a good time. I will miss him so much and hope he knew how much I loved him and respected him. Callia and I had the privilege to meet Theresa and Dirk at Mexicana and were thrilled because he was over the moon in love. He will be missed. Cheers Dirk.

  • It was my pleasure to work with Dirk during my days at Pleasant Streets School! He was always smiling or joking about something and was an amazing advocate for the children in our school. Dirk never hesitated to lend a helping to someone in need. I am truly blessed to have called him my co-worker and friend! Peace be with you Dirk! I hope you save me a place at your table, along with a slice of my favorite pizza at your party in heaven! Sending love and blessings to all of those who loved you and are missing you here in this wacky, crazy, wonderful thing called life on earth! Love, Miss Fishie

  • So sad to hear this news when I came back to Mount Vernon this week. He was a true mentor and friend. He helped me out in so many ways when I was younger, from getting me odd jobs, to working with him at the Schnormeier estate for a summer. Those are great times I’ll never forget. And he was just a fun and amiable friend. Although I hadn’t seen him in many years, the last time I saw him he recognized me at Flappers. He immediately came over to where I was, and started a happy and jubilant conversation as if those interim years never existed. That was Dirk Parker. The room’s a little darker now, brother. You will be missed.

  • So sorry for the loss of Dirko, he was such a cool guy! He always made the days at the lake in Apple Valley much more entertaining. He will definitely be missed

  • I am so sorry for your loss. I know how heartbreaking it can be. I only met the man once in my life, but that one time was enough. A good man, with much love. We drive by Daddio’s every day just about, to go to Food Lion on the way to pick up my Mom’s mail. Doing the best you can with the hand you’re dealt. Man, I so wish things were better, all around. I wish I got to know him better. Godspeed, sir.

  • To the Parker Family,
    With heartfelt sympathy, we are missing Dirk along with you. Thinking of you and wishing you moments of peace and comfort as you remember an amazing man who was so close to you all! You will be missed Daddio!

    • Mike is again heart broken. He very much appreciates the shout out to his brother Mark. Hugs and prayers and good memories to you all.

  • To the Parker Family

    It was a pleasure to work with Dirk at Daddio’s. Many people here in the Hayes community were very suprised to hear of Dirk’s tragic accident and are deeply saddened, as am I.

    Dirk will be greatly missed.

  • To all of the Parker Family,

    My condolences to you all. Dirk always had a smile and was a true inspiration to work with. He will be missed by many.

  • My heart hurts for all of you. Dirk was such a wonderful father and treated my daughter, Sam, like his own. He always made her laugh and she would come home after spending days there with Aly, telling stories of all the fun things they did. He will be greatly missed and prayers of comfort to Aly, Emily, and Fred…I am honored that he was a part of my daughter’s growing up. She will cherish those moments forever. Much love to you all

  • If you’re lucky, there will be a few people in your life that leave their footprints on your heart. Dirk was one of those people. He represented the best of mankind. He accepted everyone without judgment, loved deeply, and gave from his heart. I am so fortunate to call him my friend and I will miss him dearly.

    Condolences to his family.

  • So sorry to hear of Dirk’s passing. I met him once and thought him such a delightful person. I knew him through his lovely daughter, Ally, who for a time was dating my brother, Patrick. Ally is an incredible person and a kind, sweet soul. Reading about all of her father’s accomplishments here I can see where she got so much of her loveliness from. I am so so sorry. Sending strength to you all now. Much love.

  • When our hands touch…we leave fingerprints. When we show compassion,understanding, kindness, genuine concern and love.. we leave heartprints. Dirk left many heartprints on children, families and staff at PSES as the Family Advocate.
    Fly high Dirk, you are missed by those whose hearts you touched.
    Prayers for all the Parker family.

  • What a wonderful family reunion they are having in Heaven. Lots of hugs. He will be sadly missed here but received with open arms in Heaven. Jesus Bro! Love to all here who can live the example he set of Jesus’ love.

  • Dirk and I attended St. Matthias and DeSales together. I always sat in front of him when we followed the alphabet. I’m so sorry for your loss. He was always a great and very funny guy! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  • To the Parker family,
    I am so very sorry for your loss. I have a lot of good memories spent with Dirk and all of you actually. You are a great family. Dirk was loved by everyone and will be missed forever. You are all in my prayers. Love to all of you. XOXO

  • My heart felt sympathy to you Emily
    As well as ur two baby girls & ur entire family.
    What and outstanding man God gave u….
    God speed as you all walk through the loss of ur father…
    One day at at time
    Ant tee Sistah

  • Bertie LaCorte

    Oh my Lord. What next. The last time I talked to Dirk was to tell him about the death of my daughter Heidi. He was so happy I called and we shared so many happy thoughts of the life we shared intermingling since the day he was born!! His mother and I went to Linden McKinley together with never a dull moment and on through ups and downs of life together. Friendship. A powerful word. Love. Even more powerful that never leaves us though time and space separate us. Memories. Un-erasable gift from God. My hear is breaking for all the things the family has gone through. I have had the privilege of being part of this family and I know how deep the hurt can be. The losses but I know my friend will convince God to turn our Heavenly streams green for St. Patrick’s day ☘️ in Heaven!! My love and prayers.

  • Mike is again heart broken. He very much appreciates the shout out to his brother Mark. Hugs and prayers and good memories to you all.

  • Dene sorry for your loss of your brother. We enjoyed the times with your family years ago at the Cabanna club when we knew you as Donut. Hope you are all doing well.

  • I worked with Dirk at Papa Joes in the mid 70’s. I haven’t seen him since but nothing I have read here about his life surprises me. Dirk was a great person to be around and the world will certainly be less fun without him. To this day I still tell stories about Dirk and some of the funny stuff he did. It’s through these stories and memories that he will never be forgotten.

    My thoughts are with you all for your loss.

  • To the Parker family and all of Dirk’s friends, I’m so sorry for such a huge loss. Reading all the entries and seeing all the love he had for people period! I’m praying for God to comfort and strengthen you all during this very sad time. All the memories will keep him near your heart, he left a legacy and a lasting memory to you all. Take some of his life lessons use them for your life, he sounds like he knew how to have fun and love and keep going in life. Sounds like a life well lived, well done Dirk!!

  • Dirk was one of my favorite people. I was saddened to hear that his life was cut short.i know he will be greatly missed but that his memory will be always cherished.

  • I knew Dirk a long time ago. Well, back in the day, Mark(Wally) and I were out in his boat at Alum Creek. We ended up pulling up at the boat ramp and picking up one of his buddies. That buddy was Dirk. Turns out Dirk was Mark’s best friend. We had a blast that day. Dirk actually talked me in to water skiing that day, for the first time. I did it. Through the years I saw how good of a friend he was to Mark. He treated my sister Sheila, Mark’s wife, with respect. Sheila really loved that guy. Just a great guy, who loved to have a great time. I can see why everybody loved him so. Just thought I’d share those memories that I had of Dirk.

  • Only ran into him a few times over the years, but he seemed very personable and struck me as a great guy overall… just like the rest of the Parker family. Deepest sympathies. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you, from all of us, at Ron’s.

  • I worked with Dirk at Pleasant Street. I just loved him. He was absolutely great with the kids. I also used him for gardening advice. I hate to hear he’s gone. ❤️

  • Dirk was a great man who touched many lives. I enjoyed working with him at Pleasant Street. He became a great friend and was a great dad. He always was good at practical jokes too. He pulled a few on me and they are all good memories. I bought my first house and he helped me landscape. Dirk would literally give you the shirt off his back and always was looking to help anyone in need. I had the pleasure of coaching Fred in football and just remember how proud he was of all of his kids. My thoughts and prayers are with the Parker family at this time. Dirk will definitely be missed!

  • Dirk was a great man who touched many lives. I enjoyed working with him at Pleasant Street. He became a great friend and was a great dad. He always was good at practical jokes too. He pulled a few on me and they are all good memories. I bought my first house and he helped me landscape. Dirk would literally give you the shirt off his back and always was looking to help anyone in need. I had the pleasure of coaching Fred in football and just remember how proud he was of all of his kids. My thoughts and prayers are with the Parker family at this time. Dirk will definitely be missed!

  • I was “heart sick” to hear about Dirko’s death. He was my good friend and neighbor here in Mt. Vernon at one time. I knew his Children & entire Family. All good people. I lost my Father “Don Newland” this past March from cancer. I had called Dirk at that time to let him know. Dirk wept for me and my Dad. For anyone that really knew Dirk he could be very tough, but also very compassionate. I sincerely believe Dirk will liven things up in Heaven, but be sorely missed here. Dirk you left way too early.
    My sincerest condolences to you Theresa, Drew, Donn, Dean, Dene and especially his Children, Fred, Ally & Emily. Have never forgotten you kids.

    Tim Newland

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