Alice Parker, who was a longtime music director and music teacher for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, died on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. Parker was 85.
Parker worked for nearly 20 years with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in its Black Culture Through Music Program, where she introduced Black gospel to white churches, parochial schools and to new priests at St. Charles Seminary. After a long career with the Archdiocese, she became the choir director and teacher at St. Cyprian Roman Catholic Church.
Parker also had the opportunity to play for Cardinal John Krol and Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. Parker has been on television several times. She was a talented pianist and singer.
Parker loved family and her children were her heart and soul. Her grandchildren were her pride and joy. She loved to entertain family and friends, while having gatherings at her house. She was down to earth. She was an active member in her community. She was a philanthropist.
Parker graduated from John Bartram High School in 1953. She was amongst one of the first African Americans to graduate from Bartram. Parker is a 1987 graduate of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood.
Parker was born November 23, 1935 to Walter Benjamin Rylander and Florence Hodge in Philadelphia. She was the eighth of nine children.
She married Ernest R. Parker on June 18, 1955. They were married 54 years when he passed away Jan. 21, 2010. They have two children who are predeceased daughter, Melodie B. Parker and son, Ernest R. Parker.
She is survived by her sister, Barbara Ann Brady, grandchildren, Ernest, Marie, Melodie and Alliyah. Ten great-grandchildren. A host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
There will be a viewing for Parker from 9 to 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16 at St. Cyprian Roman Catholic Church, 525 S. Cobbs Creek Parkway. The funeral mass will begin at 10 a.m. The interment will take place at Chelten Hills Cemetery.