Brent M. Parker, MDDr. Brent Mershon Parker of Colorado Springs, formerly of Columbia, died February 15, 2021. Brent was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on July 3, 1927, to William Bahlmann and Florence Mershon Parker.
During the 1930s, he was fortunate to spend summers in Manitou Springs and developed an abiding love of Colorado. After graduating from high school in Webster Groves, Missouri,
Brent enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II, serving from July 1945 to December 1946. Brent completed his undergraduate and medical studies at Washington University in St. Louis, where he joined Beta Theta Pi Fraternity. He received his M.D. degree cum laude in 1952.
During his internship and residency at New York Hospital—Cornell, he met his beloved Martha (Molly) Shelton, and they were married August 1, 1953. Following a fellowship in cardiology at Washington University, Brent became section chief in cardiology at the Portland, Oregon, VA Hospital.
In 1959, he returned to Washington University—Barnes Hospital as director of the adult cardiac catheterization laboratory and codirector of the cardiovascular division. In 1973, Brent became a professor of medicine at the University of Missouri—Columbia School of Medicine. He subsequently served as chief of the medical staff, associate dean for clinical affairs, and chief of cardiology.
Brent was a fellow in both the American College of Physicians and the American College of Cardiology. He was active in the American Heart Association, serving as president of the Missouri Heart Association.
Brent retired as professor emeritus of medicine in 1994. Brent loved caring for patients and teaching. During his career, he received many awards, including teaching awards and an alumni achievement award from Washington University.
He wrote more than 100 research and teaching papers and several book chapters. A paper he wrote with his mentor, Dr. John R. Smith, on pulmonary embolism was the standard reference on the subject for years.
Upon his retirement in 1994, Brent was surprised and incredibly pleased when his friends and colleagues created the Brent M. Parker, MD Endowed Professorship in cardiology at the University of Missouri in his honor.
Brent always loved Colorado and the mountains and greatly enjoyed family camping and hiking. Before he and Molly retired, he looked forward with great joy to vacations in Colorado with family (including dogs) and friends.
He climbed 16 of the 14-ers, with multiple ascents of some peaks. Brent and Molly loved to travel and visited all the U.S. states and the seven continents; many trips were with their friends of almost 60 years, Ted and Beth Beattie.
He had a lifelong love of music, singing in choirs for 68 years, and greatly enjoyed classical music concerts, including those performed by the Colorado Springs Philharmonic.
As a member of several different bridge groups, he loved the game as well as the time spent with good friends. He also was a great punster. And he loved professional and college sports, especially the St. Louis Cardinals, the Missouri Tigers, and the Denver Broncos. It was a great thrill for him to see the St. Louis Cardinals win the World Series in the seventh game in 1982 with his niece Kathy.
After Brent and Molly retired to Colorado Springs in 1994, Brent volunteered for 20 years at the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center, where his activities included leading nature walks. He was a member of the Garden of the Gods Club.
A history lover, Brent was a member of the board of the Friends of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. He loved trains and enjoyed learning more about the different lines in Colorado. He fondly remembered his summer stays in Manitou Springs as a boy and seeing the trains that ran from Colorado Springs to Cripple Creek and Victor.
Brent was a kind, caring, and generous person who enriched the lives of many people during his 93 years. He was cherished and will be greatly missed. He is survived by Molly, his wife of 67 years; daughter Margaret A. Parker; son-in-law, Mark W. Burgess; grandchildren Hillary Burgess Mullen (Lucas) and Parker W. Burgess (girlfriend Kenda Cruz); great-grandson, Lawson Murray Mullen; and multiple granddogs and great-granddogs.
He is also survived by several cousins and nieces and a nephew, all of whom he loved dearly. He was predeceased by his parents; daughters Martha P. Burgess and Elizabeth S. Parker; and brother Charles W. Parker.
A memorial service is tentatively planned for late July 2021 at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Colorado Springs. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations be made to the University of Missouri Brent M. Parker, M.D. Endowed Professorship at MU School of Medicine Advancement, One Hospital Drive, DC205.00, Columbia, MO 65212.