So how does one start an obituary for Chuck Parker? Some say that he was BIGGER than life. He was truly a good soul, filled with love, encouragement, compassion, adventure, generosity and integrity.
Chuck was born in 1950 in Rome, New York. As an Air Force brat, he lived and grew up in 10 states. He attended four high schools, spending his senior year in State College High School and enrolling in college at Penn State University, where he graduated in 1972 with a BS in food services and hotel administration. Penn State is also where he met the love of his life, Emilia Lenzini, in a human development class called “Marriage and the Family.” Due to the Hurricane Agnes flood of ’72, Chuck said “I do” twice, on June 25 (tiny hip-waders blessing) and then again on July 1 (Big Italian Wedding).
At State College, from ’72 to ‘74, Chuck was a bartender and doorman at the My O My bar, then managed the Shandygaff bar. Early in ’74, he and his bride explored Europe for three weeks, then drove his Maverick to Fort Collins to visit friends. It was no surprise they fell in love with the town and put down roots to call it home.
Chuck’s first job in the Fort was at Scotch Pines working for John Strachan as a maintenance man. He then bartended, and was a server and maître d’ at the Catacombs where Nico Zentveld taught him the nuances of fine dining and wines.
In the late ‘70s, Chuck worked as a realtor for Jim Scavo. In ’79, he bought D & D Fence Co. where, for 7 years, he mastered the art of fence building. After he retired, this career would reoccur each summer as “word-of-mouth fencing.”
Over the years, Chuck aptly managed a number of Colorado State University dining halls. One of his favorite assignments was at CSU’s mountain campus, then Pingree Park, at a dining hall during the summer of 1990. While working at CSU, Chuck (the ever-consummate entrepreneur) and two partners started a store and wine club in Fort Collins called The Right Wine. Chuck acted as a purchasing agent for CSU dining services until his retirement in 2006 when he attained his dream job as a ski instructor at Steamboat Springs from ’06 to ’15.
During his life, Chuck was a member of the local Overland Sertoma club, Partners, and the Professional Ski Instructors Association.
In addition to skiing, he loved to camp, hike, bicycle – he did Ride the Rockies seven times — golf, travel, read, do puzzles (jigsaw and word-number games), play cards (Damn! We’re in a tight spot!), and especially enjoyed anything associated with good food and wine. He was an avid CSU Ram fan, with season tickets for football and men’s basketball for more than 20 years. He loved his rescued critters: Nutmeg, Marble-ony, Dodger, Alex, Fanny (the Hound), and Tucker.
Chuck was preceded in death by his mom and dad, Christine (’93) and Charles (’94) Parker, and Emilia’s mom and dad, Angie (’85) and “Big Al” (‘14) Lenzini.
He is survived by his wife of almost 44 years, Emilia; his sister Tracy and husband Ron Boyce; their daughter Ginger and Chris Hill, and son Chip and wife Katie Boyce and their children Parker and Trina.
Also surviving is Emilia’s sister Mary and husband Michael Howe; their daughter Katie and George Berger, and their children Gavin, Liam, and Maryn; and their daughter Aly and fiancé Jon Curry and their son Jameson.
Chuck valiantly chose various treatments to fight prostate cancer (diagnosed in ’04) including a prostatectomy, radiation, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and a clinical trial. This past month, staff at Poudre Valley Hospital, Centre Rehab facility and Hospice treated his declining health with compassion, expert care, and love. He died at the Centre facility on Monday, June 13. His body was cremated; his soul is free.
If desired, donations can be made in Chuck’s name to your favorite charity, or to local organizations for kids in need, or for the homeless.
A gathering of friends and family will be held on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2–4 p.m., at the Lory Student Center West Ballroom (aka Grand Ballroom D) at CSU. It will be casual (Hawaiian shirts welcome) and guests are encouraged to share personal tributes and memorable Chuck stories with each other. A brief program is scheduled at 3 p.m.
Out-of-town visitors may reserve lodging at a discounted rate at the Best Western Hotel on College Avenue until July 22 or at the University Park Hilton on Prospect Road until July 13 under the name Chuck Parker.