Richard Lewis “Wayne” Parker, 1932-2013

Richard Lewis “Wayne” Parker, musician, singer, songwriter, arranger, music producer, died on February 17th, after a three-month struggle with lymphoma. He was 81.

Parker graduated from Hamilton High School in West Los Angeles, from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in art design, and served in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper. Afterward, he did freelance work as a stand up bass player and singer with several musical groups and doing session work which included Jimmie Rodgers' national hit, Honey Comb. Ron Combes, who produced music with Parker for more than 30 years, said of him, “There was not a negative bone in his body.”

He played guitar in one of the first beach movies, “For Those Who Think Young”, then moved into independent music production, producing musical artists such as Children of the Mushroom and California Grassfield, marketing them to major record companies.

Eventually, he started composing and publishing his own works. He produced two of his songs, Boys in the Bunkhouse and Oklahoma Twilight, with Mike Curb. Country singer Eddie Raven covered his song, Good News, Bad News, which went to #27 on the country charts in 1975. He also appeared in two Clint Eastwood movies, “Every Which Way But Loose” and “Any Which Way You Can", in which he played guitar and sang in the bar scenes.

Despite having worked with known performers, producers, filmmakers, comedians, and some very talented people, his greatest pleasure was composing music and creating music videos, especially for his daughter Robin Leigh, who passed at the age of 27.

Wayne dances at the 2011 Idyllwild
Fourth of July Parade.
Semi-retired, he worked for the Idyllwild Town Crier and drove for Idyllwild Arts. He was busy posting some of his latest music on ReverbNation and building his music catalog when he became ill.

He is remembered as a warm and openhearted, full-of-life person who found enjoyment in everyone he met. Building lasting friendships all over the world, Parker loved to hang out with his friends, armed with a video camera for his own travelogues

He is survived by his wife Lori, four daughters, a son, eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

You may access his Facebook page here.

Photos by Halie Johnson.


Dennis Swanson said…
Myself & Children of the Mushroom thank you
Kaye for honoring Dick Parker!