Jay Parker, a trustee of The Fund for American Studies from 1983 to 1999, passed away on Sept. 14, 2015 at the age of 78. He also served on the TFAS Board of Regents and was Trustee Emeritus since 2012. He was a recipient of TFAS’s David R. Jones Lifetime Achievement Award, named after the longtime TFAS president.
TFAS President Roger Ream remarked, “Jay was a gentleman, full of compassion, always willing to offer counsel to young people, and a leader in the conservative movement for more than 50 years. I was fortunate to call him friend, colleague, and mentor.”
For many decades Jay helped advance the ideas of liberty through his Lincoln Institute for Research and Education. He was a role model to countless young people through his work with The Fund for American Studies and numerous national and local civic organizations. A convivial and kind-hearted man, Jay never wavered in his convictions or in his enthusiasm for sharing the ideas of limited government, personal responsibility and economic freedom with people from all walks of life.
Jay’s funeral service was held at the Forty Sixth Street Baptist Church in Philadelphia on Sept. 18, 2015, during which Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas made remarks and trumpeter Bruce Frazier played “I Did It My Way.”
On Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, at 1 p.m., an event celebrating the life of Jay Parker will be held at the University Club of Washington, DC. Those wishing to attend or to contribute to the event should visit www.TFAS.org/CelebratingJay
The following biographical information is excerpted from his funeral obituary:
Jay was born in Philadelphia on Nov. 1, 1936. As the years passed Jay became interested in public affairs. He was co-host of a popular Philadelphia talk show, “Left, Right and Center” with Jay representing the right. He was also a leader in Young Americans for Freedom, a group committed to limited government, national strength and a genuinely colorblind society.
Jay founded and served as president of the Lincoln Institute for Research and Education. Jay has been referred to as the ‘founding father’ of the emerging black conservative movement. He brought together such black conservative advocates as Clarence Thomas, Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell. Their goal was the achievement of a color-blind society in which men and women would be judged on the basis of individual merit, not race.
In 1980 President Ronald Reagan named Jay to head the transition team at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The report issued by this group decried what it called the ‘new racism’ of judging people on the basis of race and opposed race-based quotas for employment.
During the Reagan Years, Jay worked with the U.S. Information Agency to help project a more positive and well-rounded view of America. He also worked with Attorney General Edwin Meese III on a special committee on the problem of missing and exploited children.
Above all, he believed in putting his belief in individualism into action because ‘problems in America can only truly be fixed by individuals convincing individuals, one at a time, how to behave properly.’ He served as Advisory Board Chairman of the Salvation Army of Washington, D.C., and on the boards of Southeastern University, Gallaudet University and James Madison University. He was chairman of the Davis Memorial Goodwill Industries of Washington, D.C. and a leader for many years of the Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 36 years Dolores Parker and two daughters Wanda Yvette and Ashley DeAnne.