Stephen Jan Parker

Professor Stephen J. Parker, born August 5, 1939 in Brooklyn, New York, died on March 14, 2016 of complication from Alzheimer’s with his family around him. He spent 44 of his years as a professor of Russian literature at the University of Kansas, 13 of those as Chairman of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. He became one of the world’s preeminent experts on Vladimir Nabokov, under whom he studied during his years at Cornell, where he received his BA and PhD. During his years at KU, he served as a mentor to numerous students and as a leader in the academic community. Spending so much of his life in Kansas, he became an avid hunter and fisherman and an ardent Jayhawks basketball fan. He served as faculty mentor to the KU basketball team for a number of years and as a member of the KU Athletic Board. He was respected and loved by many who were lucky enough to get to know him professionally or personally. More than anything, he was a loving husband, father and grandfather. He is survived by and will be dearly missed by his wife Marie-Luce Parker; his daughter Sandra McGill and her husband Richard and their children Emily and Annie of Chicago IL; and his son Richard Parker and his wife Kristin and their children Benjamin, William and Lily of Glencoe, IL. There will be a celebration of his life for family and friends at a later date. Contributions may be made in his name to the Alzheimer’s Association or the KU Endowment Association.

7 Condolences

  1. Baili Zhang on March 20, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    Deepest condolences to the Parker family. Even though I had limited interaction with Professor Parker, I was deeply impressed with his gentle and scholarly persona. I will always remember his friendly smiles too! I may have to miss the memorial service in his honor due to imminent international travel. My best to the family.

  2. Joyce Mitchell & Family on March 21, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    Sincere condolences. It was good to know Steve as a great and caring friend. He will be greatly missed.

  3. Niki Schneider on March 23, 2016 at 8:31 am

    Marie-Luce and Family,
    My thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time.

  4. Corey Mass on April 20, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Condolences to the whole family upon your loss….I was a grad student in the KU Slavic Lang. and Lit. Dept. in the 1970s and remember Prof. Parker well and with admiration. Coincidentally, I also was a student of his mother, Prof. Fan Parker, at Brooklyn College in NY….I was lucky to have studied and learned under such fine scholars.

  5. Georgia Palijan on March 15, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    condolences to the family whom I had a great pleasure in knowing
    I am very sorry, did not know until today that Stephen passed
    I am very sad, but richer for knowing him and his beautiful family

  6. Georgia Palijan on March 15, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    my condolences to a family that I had a great pleasure in knowing
    very sad that Stephen passed, but am richer for knowing him
    sorry I just found out

  7. Matthew Oliva on May 14, 2022 at 5:25 pm

    Steven Parker taught me Tolstoy, Doestoevsky, Turgenev, Pushkin and others in my senior russian literature class at Kansas in 2011. He is the most poetic and brilliant human being i have ever met and he argued over every point of every novel fiercly. He owned every printed page tolstoy ever wrote and donated it to the university of Kansas. Sadly i didnt get to know him better as i was forced in to psychiatry by my mother my senior year but i received an A in his lit course with high honors although i stuggled to complete the course after being hospitalized against my will. Steven J Parker is in my opinion the finest scholar in Russian literature in Kansas History and i deeply regret the fact i didnt get to know him better. Im still bitterly sad over his death.

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