Parker Ross Stephenson

Parker Ross Stephenson

Selfless, humble, loving, outgoing, kind-hearted.

Parker was one of those rare individuals who could immediately strike up a conversation with anyone, making them feel they had been friends for years. His infectious smile made him approachable and laughter was present wherever he was. He was kindhearted, generous and thoughtful.

Parker loved music; it was his outlet. He could be found playing his guitar for hours at a time. Basketball was another passion for Parker, specifically Duke basketball. His wife, Celeste, said their favorite date nights were at Cameron Indoor Stadium. “We would dress in Duke blue from head to toe and yell and scream throughout the entire game, I can still hear his voice cheering them on,” she said.

Life was going very well for Parker. He had a successful career as a sale associate and finance director at a car dealership and was just hired to work in the family business in property management; something he always wanted to do. Parker was 27, newly married, had a 3-year-old son, Brantley, who he adored, had just purchased a home and he and Celeste were expecting their daughter Ryleigh in just four months. Parker and Celeste planned to have two more children. He was excited for the future, but was struggling internally.

Parker went to rehab twice where he became passionate about learning everything about substance use disorder to help himself and others. He was working toward becoming a speaker at local high schools to share his firsthand experience with substance use disorder in hopes his story would help and inspire others. He was already informally reaching out to younger people, calling them daily to support their sobriety. “He definitely had a servant’s heart, it is something that I still admire about him,” his wife stated.

Three weeks prior to his passing Parker was over the moon to learn they were having a little girl; Celeste remembers his look of pure joy. Another cherished memory for Celeste was time at the beach with the entire extended family the weekend just prior to his passing. Parker rode the waves on the boat and they took the last pictures they would have as a family. “It is a memory that I will tell my daughter about and cherish forever,” Celeste said. She will miss his strong, deep voice, his touch and his arms around her. She still laughs remembering and his well-known impersonations from movie scenes. Her heart aches every day knowing that he is never coming back and that one day her daughter will have to experience grief. Celeste said: “She doesn’t even know what she has been robbed of yet.”

Parker’s wife, Celeste Stephenson, provided the information for this narrative.

December 27, 1990–May 30, 2018
Age 27–Lived with addiction 4-5 years

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