FORMER Wodonga Citizen of the Year and history advocate Jim Parker is being saluted for his commitment to preserving the city's past after dying at the age of 94.
The long-serving publicity officer for the Wodonga Historical Society died last Saturday after a gradual deterioration in his health.
Former mayor and Wodonga councillor John Watson praised Mr Parker for his contribution to the city which saw him named its top citizen in 2006.
"Jim was a great community-minded person who built up the historical society and kept it up, credit to Jim for keeping our history in safe hands," Cr Watson said.
"He was a great stalwart of Wodonga and he will be greatly missed in our community."
Fellow society members Uta Wiltshire and Jean Whitla praised their friend.
"He had a real passion for history and we've got so many of his personal stories in our archives which makes for great reading," Mrs Wiltshire said.
Mr Parker grew in west Wodonga on land now occupied by the city's golf course and the Park Hall retirement village which takes its name from his family's property.
"Jim was walking history," Mrs Whitla said.
"Jim farmed that land, he lived on that land and he was a thoroughly honest person.
"He never had his hand out to take from others, he always seemed to give."
Born on April 9 1927, Mr Parker was the youngest of two children, with his father Samuel having been Wodonga Shire president.
He attend Wodonga West School which closed in 1950 and was in McKoy Street.
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``I came to school here in 1931 when I was five, but later went with my brother Jack into Wodonga school, where more discipline was exercised, though I don't know if it did me any good.'' he told The Border Mail in 2002 during a visit to the site now void of buildings.
Mr Parker fought the lethal 1952 Barnawartha bushfires and married Norma Sumsion in 1957 and they had three children, Leonie, Graeme and David.
He supplemented the farm income by working at Wodonga's saleyards, the site is now occupied by Wodonga Plaza, and doing house relocations which saw him involved in moving structures to the coast from places such as Corryong and Khancoban.
Mr Parker and Mrs Parker sold Park Hall in 1974 to the Albury-Wodonga Development Corporation and moved to a property south of Chiltern before later living in Iron Way near Wodonga's golf course.
Mr Parker's love of history stemmed from his family, who gave their name to Parkers Road, and broadened to the city and its surrounds.
After receiving his citizen of the year award, Mr Parker said: "I appreciate being recognised for my efforts, it's a wonderful award, but I only wished I listened more to the older blokes that knew so much of the history of the town."
Mr Parker's wife Norma predeceased him in 2017 and he is survived by his children, nine grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Due to COVID restrictions, a private funeral is being held for Mr Parker.
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