Mary Florence Genevieve “Gen” Kolar Parker, known to so many as simply Granny, was born
on a dairy farm in Muscoda, Wisconsin on June 15, 1917. She was the 5th of six children born
to Frank Joseph and Mary Charlotte Sale Kolar. She enjoyed a simple but abundant childhood
in the countryside, working on the farm with her family. She recounted stories of her family
horses, giant blizzards, sleigh rides, milking cows, drinking cream, swimming in the river, and
savoring her mother’s cooking. From an early age, Gen loved school and learning. After
graduating from Platteville State Teachers College with a degree in Mathematics and English,
she pursued a teaching career. Although her career path soon changed, her passion for
teaching remained with her throughout her life.
Gen’s adventurous spirit led her to join the Navy as one of the first female WAVES (Women
Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service) officers during WWII. She was sent to Dahlgren,
VA where she used her math apptitude and skills to serve her country as she calculated range
tables to help Navy gunners with accuracy. She also mentored and cared for the female enlisted
WAVES under her command. While serving at Dahlgren, Gen met and fell in love with a young
Navy pilot, then Lt. Edelen Alphonsus “Ace” Parker. Before long, they were married and Gen
began the next phase of her life as a Naval officer’s wife and a mother. Her unwavering support
and her warm hospitality were a tremendous asset to her husband’s military career. Her
nurturing and loving nature created a home where her children flourished, no matter where they
Gen returned to her farming roots when the family settled permanently on her husband’s family
farm in Piscataway, MD midway through his Naval career. Her willingness to work hard provided
the extra support needed to grow the family business into a successful enterprise, now in its 3rd
generation. She did everything from keeping the books, to picking and selling produce, to fixing
meals for numerous farm hands.
The crowning accomplishment of Gen’s life was her role as a matriarch. She shared her lifelong
love of learning and teaching with three generations; her 5 children, 21 grandchildren and 52
greatgrandchildren. She taught them to read and work math problems, appreciate classical
music and poetry, sing and dance, play the piano, knit and crochet, care for the sick and elderly,
make jam, look on the bright side, butcher, pluck and fry up a chicken, make a perfect potato
salad, tend a garden, be a gracious hostess, foster family traditions, play gin and poker, ride a
horse, laugh at yourself, fluff the pillows, have a meaningful conversation, bake oatmeal cookies
and many other life lessons.
Her unconditional acceptance of others and servant’s heart came out of a love for God and the
Scriptures. Her humility and selflessness touched countless people in her church and
community. She was a faithful parishioner at St. Mary’s of Piscataway, regularly attending early
morning mass and serving as a lectern. Her cheerful generosity and breezy nature put everyone
at ease and is one reason why so many outside the family called her Granny. An extrovert in the
truest sense of the word, she drew strength and joy from personal relationships. She looked for
and brought out the best in everyone. She truly walked the walk.
Gen repeatedly stated how blessed she felt to have such a large family who loved and cared for
her. Her heart's desire to remain until the end of her life in the house she had lived in for over 60
years, where she had loved so many so well for so long, was graciously granted by God. She
died on April 22, 2019 at home in the presence of her 5 children.
Relatives and friends are invited to Mrs. Parker's Visitation on Friday, April 26 from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. at the KALAS FUNERAL HOME & CREMATORY, 6160 Oxon Hill Rd., Oxon Hill, MD. Mass of Christian Burial will be offered on Saturday, April 27 at 11 a.m. at St. Mary's Catholic Church of Piscataway(Main Church), 13401 Piscataway Rd., Clinton, MD. Interment Church Cemetery.