Argentina Dolores Rodriguez de Soto Parker passed away at home on June 18, 2020, surrounded by her loving family.
Argentina was born at home in La Masica, Atlántida, Honduras. "Tina" was the much loved daughter of Gonzalo Rodriguez, a rancher and teacher, and his wife, Dolores Rodriguez de Soto, who ran the family store, La Tienda. Tina had three older siblings: Rosa Amalia, a teacher; Gonzalo, a medical doctor; and Leopoldo, a pharmacist.
Tina earned a teaching certificate from Instituto Salesianas María Axiliadora, a Catholic boarding school for girls in the capital city of Tegucigalpa. In July 1951, Tina travelled to the United States to complete her education with the intent to return to Honduras to teach English. She enrolled in Perkinston Junior College in Mississippi. During spring break in 1953, Tina met U.S. Airman Don Parker. After her graduation, they married in 1954. During her husband's military career, Tina lived in Biloxi, Mississippi; San Antonio, Texas; Okinawa, Japan; and Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
Tina was widowed in 1973, leaving her the sole support of her four children under 18. Tina worked very hard to support her family and encouraged her children to pursue their education. Tina graduated from Okaloosa-Walton Junior College with an Associate of Arts Degree in early childhood development. She worked with children for over 30 years at Cinco Baptist Church Day Care Center. She also inspected day care centers throughout Florida as a member of a national accreditation organization.
After her retirement, Tina devoted countless hours as a volunteer with Children in Crisis, St. Mary's Catholic Church School, Combs-New Heights Elementary School, Elliot Point Elementary School, Bruner Middle School, and Fort Walton Beach High School. Tina especially enjoyed helping the newly arrived Hispanic children in Spanish, her first language.
Tina received A Point of Light award from Florida Governor Charlie Crist. At the awards ceremony at the Governor's Mansion in Tallahassee, Governor Crist announced that Tina had recently become an American Citizen, which was a very proud moment for Tina and her family. Tina was recognized as the Okaloosa County District Schools Outstanding Senior Adult Volunteer of the Year and the Hurlburt Field Volunteer of the Year. Tina also graduated from the Fort Walton Beach Police Department Citizens Police Academy. Tina often delivered food to the Fort Walton Beach Police Department and the Waterfront Mission.
Tina loved music, art, and theatre. She was a student of languages. Tina studied English, Latin, and Italian at boarding school. While living in Okinawa, Tina studied Japanese. She later studied American Sign Language. Tina loved to travel and spend time with her family. "Grammy Tina” loved to laugh and was always game for whatever the children in the family wanted her to do.
Tina was preceded in death by her parents, her siblings, and her husband. Tina also lost her son Raymond Parker and her son-in-law Rick Mann, which were terrible blows to Tina and her family. Tina is survived by her son Don Parker and wife Susan, daughter Edna Parker Mann, daughter-in-law Leslie Parker, and daughter Dawn Parker and husband Martin Ivancic; her grandchildren Chris Parker and wife Stephanie Settle, Shannon Parker, Jordan Parker, Daniel Parker, Courtney Parker and Jimmy Adolphe, Ali Ivancic and husband Kyle Morgan, and Maggie Ivancic and husband Aaron Hayworth. Tina was a proud great-grandmother to Ethan Parker, Mason Parker, Jack Parker, and Jaxon Settle. Tina is also survived by a host of nieces and nephews from the Rodriguez family, several of whom lived with Tina while they attended Fort Walton Beach High School. Her sobrinos often called and sent cards and prayers to Tia Titina, the family matriarch. The family greatly appreciates their love and support.
Tina was a devoted member of the Roman Catholic Church all of her life. Her first ambition was to be a nun, inspired by the nuns at her boarding school. Tina attended daily Mass at St. Mary's Catholic Church as long as her health allowed. She was a member of the choir and volunteered in the school library.
Tina Parker was a unique person. She started life in a loving family and always described her parents as "the best." Tina had a sense of adventure that brought her to the United States for her education and where she remained to start a family in a new country and culture. She always looked at the positive things in life and preferred to ignore the bad. Tina loved unconditionally and was quick to forgive. She accepted people for who they were. Tina was incredibly kind and generous. She loved animals, but boy did she hate frogs. Tina adored her whole family and that love was returned in full measure. We shall not look upon her like again.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your favorite charity. Tina's favorite charities include Children in Crisis in Fort Walton Beach, Florida; St. Mary's Catholic School; and St. Jude's Children's Hospital.
A private family service will be held at St. Mary's Catholic Church, followed by burial in Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola, beside her beloved husband Don.
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