Remembering David Parker


David N. Parker, who served in the Nixon administration as special assistant to the President and went on to serve as an executive at major, national trade associations, passed away on May 10, 2020. He was 80 years old.

Friends and Nixon administration colleagues shared their remembrances of David:

“Dave was a true gentleman, a loyal friend, and a loving family man who took such pride in his wife Carol and son and daughter, Kyle and Megan. He was one of those rare persons whom you could call in the middle of the night and know he would be there to provide whatever assistance might be needed. His personality and countenance were characterized by the utterance of a pleasant word accompanied by a friendly smile. Having a friend like Dave is a rare treat and the memory of that friendship will survive him throughout the remainder of the lives of all who had the privilege of knowing him as a friend.”

-Stephen Bull

“David was a wonderful asset to the White House staff. Totally competent in all regards. He was a great husband, father, friend, and loyal supporter of the Detroit Tigers. He will be missed by all who had the good fortune of knowing this GREAT GUY.”

-Henry Cashen

“Dave Parker was a very able and effective member of President Nixon’s White House staff.”

-James Cavanaugh
Chairman of the Richard Nixon Foundation

“Dave was much loved and respected for his talents, as well as his loyalty to those for whom he worked. Dave was always more than willing to engage and keep the Nixon legacy a vital part of the Presidential history. I doubt we will find many who worked as hard as Dave in keeping the Nixon legacy a “living” one of greatness and vision.”

-Red Cavaney

“Dave Parker was our colleague, a very Dear Friend. He was a man of integrity and the highest honor. An Eagle Scout, David was an outstanding person of example from his earliest days! No one was prouder and more grateful for the honor of serving President Nixon. His wonderful and loving family grieve their loss and so do we. The President Richard Nixon family of Alumni is marked by the great character of those who served alongside the President, David Parker is in those top ranks!”

-Terry Goodson and Dwight Chapin

“David was a friend, a mentor and above all things a true gentleman of the highest integrity. Having worked with David in the Nixon White House it became crystal clear to me and our colleagues that David served President Nixon, the White House, the Administration and the country with enormous skill, vigor, courage and distinction. He will be greatly missed.”

-Terrence ODonnell

“Dave leaves us after an impressive career and earning great respect and admiration from those he met and worked with.”

-Richard (Sandy) Quinn
President of the Richard Nixon Foundation, 2010 to 2014

“Dave Parker was my pal for many years. President Nixon sent me to help Wally Hickel the secretary of Interior in early 1969. Dave Parker was working in one of the bureaus as a scheduler. Dave was smart, well organized, and good at the fine art of scheduling. I recommended that he should be transferred to work in the White House scheduling office. Over many years our paths stayed connected. Dave always lit up with joy when we met at a Washington event and always told us that seeing us was the highlight of the evening. He seldom met a stranger and had the gift to be able to converse on any subject, anywhere, anytime with anyone. Anne and I loved Carol and Dave and cherished their friendship. We will miss him.”

-Ron Walker
Chairman of the Richard Nixon Foundation, 2010 to 2018

David Parker was born in Detroit on January 4, 1940. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1962 and a master’s degree in urban planning in 1965 from Wayne State University. From 1962 to 1968 he served in the United States Air Force Reserve.

He joined the White House staff in January 1971, working in Dwight Chapin’s appointments and scheduling office on invitations and schedule proposals. His 17 years of government experience included service in senior positions at the White House, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of the Interior.

Parker spent nine years managing public policy issues for the Edison Electric Institute where he served as an officer with responsibility for corporate affairs and government relations. He was then president of the Aluminum Association from 1989 to 1997.

As the 1997 to 1998 chairman of the American Society of Association Executives, Parker led an effort to promote closer associations between the business and public sectors by establishing a series of dialogues among key public officials, technology leaders and media experts.

He would go on to serve as president and CEO of the American Gas Association from 1997 to 2010.

In May 2019 several Nixon White House alumni celebrated Parker as he was named the 2019 Honoree at the Alzheimer’s Association Brain Ball at the Ritz Carlton in Washington, DC.

David is survived by his wife Carol, children Kyle and Megan, and two grandchildren.