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Obituary: Ellen Parker

Ellen Parker, professor emerita of Speech-Language-Hearing Services at Hofstra University, died Feb. 25, 2010 after a brief illness. She had just celebrated her 75th birthday and had lived in Port Washington for years.

Dr. Parker served as a professor in the department and as a department chair, and for 30 years was director of the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic. Her major interest was in the areas of childhood language and the diagnosis and treatment of language disorders in children. As director of the clinic, she taught and supervised other speech pathologists who taught students and interacted with clients, and her son Daniel said, “There may not have been a stutterer in Nassau County whose ability to overcome that impediment was not directly or indirectly affected by my mother.”

After Dr. Parker’s retirement, she was instrumental in founding Hofstra’s Association for Retired People, and at the time of her death was serving as co-president. A lifelong scholar, reader and teacher, she and her husband, Donald, a retired high school social studies teacher, in 1979 formed a book group with friends. Dr. Parker also led a book discussion group at the library in Massapequa, participated in a nonfiction discussion group in Port Washington and presented book reviews in Port Washington and Great Neck. The Parkers led a monthly current events discussion group in the Port Washington Library.

Ellen and Don Parker met just before she received her bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College at the age of 20, majoring in speech and hearing science. They married four months later, and soon afterwards Mrs. Parker began her career in education teaching English to high school students in Islip. She was not much older than her students.

For 14 summers during the 1960s and ‘70s the couple directed Shaker Village camp located in New Lebanon, NY, a sleep-away camp for teenagers. While raising their own two sons, Alan and Daniel, Ellen went back to school and received her Ph.D. in speech pathology from the CUNY Graduate School, writing her dissertation on the topic of early language development.

During their 54-year marriage Don and Ellen visited art museums, were avid filmgoers, took many educational vacations through Elderhostel, and were politically active. Dr. Parker campaigned for Hillary Clinton during her New York State Senate race, made phone calls for Barack Obama during his presidential campaign and as an active member of LDS (Let’s Do Something), a women’s political action group in Port Washington.

In addition to her husband and sons, Dr. Parker’s survivors include her daughters-in-law, Ellen Wahl and Felicia Van Bork; her grandchildren, Jesse, Emma and Eli; and her sister Joan Crespi.

The family requests that contributions in her memory be made to the Ellen Parker Scholarship for Clinical Excellence and Compassion, Office of Development, 101 Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY 11550. A scholarship will be awarded each year to an outstanding graduate student in a clinical practicum