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Obit — Etherage Johnson Parker, Jr.

Mr. Etherage Johnson Parker, Jr., 84, of Hartsville, TN passed away on March 20, 2023, at Alive Hospice in Nashville, TN.

Etherage Johnson Parker, Jr. was the son of Trousdale County Judge and former Sheriff, Etherage Johnson Parker, and Annie Lee Davis Parker. He was a graduate of Trousdale County High School and attended the University of Tennessee Knoxville and Middle Tennessee State University. He was just 21 years old when he made a bet with some friends that he could get a date with the pretty girl they saw walking down the street. She agreed and he used the $10 he won from that bet to take Alma Katherine Beasley on their first date. She became the love of his life and his bride for 57 years. They had two children, Etherage “Trey” Johnson Parker, III and Elizabeth “Sissie” Anne Parker Harper.

Mr. Parker was an astute businessman and deal maker. Never one to mince his words, Mr. Parker was unmatched in his ability to get things done. His business endeavors spanned multiple industries including gasoline, real estate, politics, and of course—tobacco. During the 1960s and 70s, he built and franchised Stuckey’s stores across the Southeast and served as a Texaco distributor. During that time Mr. Parker also served on the Board of Directors of Citizens Bank of Hartsville and the Board of Trustees of Cumberland University. Governor Lamar Alexander appointed Mr. Parker Commissioner of the Department of Tourist Development in 1980. Tourism across Tennessee thrived during Mr. Parker’s tenure as Commissioner, with Graceland, the Mud Island River Park in Memphis, and the World’s Fair in Knoxville all opening their doors in 1982. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, he helped pioneer and organize the Tobacco Farmers Partnering Program (TFPP) with Philip Morris, USA.

While he entertained dignitaries, politicians, and business leaders from around the world throughout his career, Mr. Parker was happiest at his Hartsville home, affectionately referred to as “Camel Hill.” Known as “EJ,” “Jr.,” Etherage, and simply “Parker,” Mr. Parker was a fixture in his community, employing many of his Trousdale County friends and neighbors over the years. He was also instrumental in the creation of Hartsville’s Trey Park, a community park and playground built in memory of his son, Trey. He was a member of the First Baptist Church in Hartsville, TN for over 70 years, with his family donating the land on which the current building sits. Most importantly, he was fiercely loyal, and he had no greater priority than caring for his family.

Mr. Parker is preceded in death by his loving wife, Alma Katherine Beasley Parker; his son, Etherage “Trey” Johnson Parker III and daughter-in-law, Pamela Faye Duncan Parker; his parents, Etherage Johnson Parker and Annie Lee Davis Parker. He is survived by his daughter, Elizabeth “Sissie” Anne Parker Harper (Mark); four grandchildren Katherine Davis Harper (Jason), Mark Dalton Harper, Jr., Etherage Johnson Parker IV (Marta), and Mary Katherine Parker Draper (Justin); three great-grandchildren Elizabeth “Libby” Grace Parker, Mary “Margot” Margaret Parker, and Eleanor “Ellie” Faye Draper; brothers-in-law Lewis Cass Beasley, Jr. (Carol), Thomas “Wish” Wilson Beasley, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and extended family.

A service of celebration was held at Noon on Saturday, March 25, 2023, at the First Baptist Church in Hartsville, TN with Bro. Darryl Turner officiating. Interment followed in the Hartsville Memorial Gardens.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Etherage Johnson Parker, III Foundation, P.O. Box 149, Hartsville, TN 37074-0149.

Anthony Funeral Home, 337 McMurry Blvd. E, Hartsville, TN 37074, 615-374-2280,

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