Gage E. Parker
April 12, 1925 - April 21, 2018

Gage E. Parker

Gage E. Parker
Apr 12, 1925 - Apr 21, 2018

Gage E. Parker
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Gage E Parker, world traveler, voracious reader, lover of the arts and member of the greatest generation died, Saturday, April 21, 2018 in Lincoln, NE. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Gage had an idyllic childhood in Shenandoah IA. Charlie and Gladys Gage Parker showered their only child with love, wisdom and uncommon common sense.

Gage graduated early from Shenandoah High School to enroll at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. He was soon drafted by the United States Army where he served as a staff sergeant during World War II. He was one of hundreds of military men who lined the parade route during FDR's funeral in April of 1945. It is interesting to note that he stood guard at the gates of the White House during the somber event. Gage returned to Northwestern after the war, becoming a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity and pursuing his degree in business.

Following graduation Gage joined the company his father founded, Central Surveys Inc. Gage was sent to the east coast to run the Central Surveys office in New York City. Upon his return he met the love of his life Rita Zimmerman. The couple was blessed with two daughters, Sarah and Natalie.

Gage was a master of vocabulary and taught his daughters to arm themselves with a great lexicon and to speak with conviction. He also instilled in them a love of learning, explaining that the doors out of the classroom opened to a world ripe for adventure and discovery. Gage also taught his girls to love all of God's creations particularly animals; at one point the Parker menagerie consisted of 3 dogs,
4 cats, 5 goldfish, 27 guppies and one horse.

Gage was a tremendous craftsman even building a train, which he pulled behind his lawn tractor, for Sarah, Natalie and all their friends. Many, now grown, children of a certain age will remember feeling giddy when they heard the clanging of the train's bell as it came down the street. They anxiously waited at the curb for the train to pull up and Engineer Gage to yell, "All aboard!"

Gage thrived on life-long relationships. He had a plethora of friends in Shenandoah and across the globe. His world-wide travel, his companies Central Surveys and Central Travel Service, as well as, the myriad of the exchange students to which the Parker's opened their home solidified this. These stateside and international friendships offered him the opportunity to enjoy conversations, with countless people thereby learning about numerous cultures.

Although he moved to Lincoln in 2005 to live with his daughter, Sarah, Gage always considered Shenandoah, IA his home. He loved Shenandoah. He was active in the Shenandoah Chamber of Commerce, the First Presbyterian church, St. Mary's Catholic church, Southwest Iowa Theatre Group and the American Legion. Gage was one of the leaders of the Shenandoah Centennial celebration. He sat on the Shenandoah library board for more than 25 years. Gage and Ed May spearheaded the fundraising campaign to construct the Wirsig-Jones Auditorium. He was instrumental in building the Shenandoah Memorial Hospital. He was one of the founders of the Wassail Bowl more than 67 years ago.

Gage was especially proud of his granddaughter Alisha (Ivan Rojas) and his great granddaughters, Elena and Everly. They, with his daughter Sarah, many friends and relatives, are left to cherish the memory of the wit and wisdom that was Gage. He was proceeded in death by wife Rita, daughter Natalie and as friend Susan Sand wrote to Sarah, "I bet there was a train full of relatives and friends waiting for the Engineer in heaven."

Per Gage's wishes, his body was donated to science. A service will be held for his Lincoln friends Saturday, April 28th, 2 pm in the Chapel at the Southlake Village Care Center, 9401 Andermatt Drive, Lincoln, NE. Memorials can be made to the Shenandoah Public Library or the First Presbyterian Church in Shenandoah.

Celebration of Life Ice Cream Social will be held at 2:00 p.m. at the Shenandoah Historical Society Museum on Sunday, July 15, 2018. A special program of Gage's life will begin at 2:30.


Janet Danforth-Bacon on Apr 25, 2018

Sorry for your loss. Gage was a nice guy. Gage and my dad Fred worked together at Central Surveys.

Tom and Kerry England on Apr 25, 2018

We were so sorry to learn of Gage's passing.As a young coach I relied heavily on the mentorship and support of Gage and George Haws Memories of.those lessons learned have truly become a treasure !! Shenandoah would not be what it us today without his leadership and passion.His legacy will live for ever."MAY GOD BLESS"

Bill Bone on Apr 23, 2018

Sarah, sorry to hear of Gage's passing. Both he and your Mom were so good to Nan and me during our three decades in Shenandoah. We so appreciate that and share your loss. Bill Bone

Sue Welbourne on Apr 23, 2018

Sarah - I'm so sorry for your loss. Some of my earliest, fondest childhood memories are staying with Uncle Gage, Aunt Rita, you & Nat in Shenandoah. He always made my visits so fun - lots of games, songs, and especially showing me how to develop pictures - such magic! And of course I remember riding the train, which usually resulted in all of the kids getting an ice cream treat as well - this was certainly a splurge back in the 1960's!
He obviously loved you and Nat with his whole being - he just beamed whenever one of you did something totally cute and/or obnoxious!! I know it leaves a tremendous emptiness to lose such a truly amazing father.
I'm sure that there are many that will miss him from the Shenandoah and Lincoln communities, and of course by the multitudes of nieces and nephews and all the Zimmerman family. My love and prayers are with you, Sue (Bowers) Welbourne

Mick Longstreet on Apr 22, 2018

I remember Gage growing up in Shenandoah as a young boy through my college years. He loved eating lunch at Simpson's Cafe and dining at the Country Club. I know that my parents, Rex and Loretta, knew him well. He did alot for Shenandoah as a business and civic leader. My thoughts and prayers are with Sarah and the rest of his family.

Mick Longstreet
Columbus, GA



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Shenandoah Historical Museum
800 W Sheridan
Shenandoah, Iowa 51601
2:00 PM
Celebration of Life Ice Cream Social. A program celebrating Gage's life will begin at 2:30 p.m.

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