Joseph D. Parker was born in Norfolk, Virginia, on August 24, 1928. Following his graduation from Maury High School in 1946, he attended Bullis Preparatory School, from which he graduated in 1947. He was appointed to West Point Military Academy by Senator Harry Byrd, Sr., and was accepted with the highest examination score on record, 99.6. Mr. Parker’s military career was cut short in 1948 when he received an honorable discharge due to a football injury. He enrolled in the College of William and Mary and later received his bachelor of chemical engineering degree from North Carolina State University in 1952. In 1954, he received his master of science degree from The Institute of Paper Chemistry.
While he was attending the Institute, he served three engineering internships: Combined Locks Paper Company, Combined Locks, Wisconsin, in 1952; North Carolina Pulp Company, Plymouth, North Carolina, 1953; and Crown Zellerbach Corporation, Camas, Washington, 1954. Mr. Parker earned his doctorate from the Institute in 1958 and was hired by Beloit Corporation as a research engineer. He served as a visiting research scientist for the Swedish Forest Products Research Institute in 1963 and 1964, after which he was promoted to senior research associate for Beloit Corporation, followed by associate director of research from 1962 until his untimely death in 1972.
Dr. Parker contributed significantly to the understanding of fluid mechanics in the areas of sheet formation, paper machine design and general papermaking. His accomplishments include: supervised the development of the Twinverform paper machine; participated on the lnverform development team; developed the Beloit Converflo hydraulic headbox; developed the Beloit Sheet Splitter and the fiber optic flocculation and consistency probe; and was on the development team for the Bel Baie twin wire former. Included in his many publications was the TAPPI monograph “The Sheet Forming Process”, which is considered the definitive work in the fluid mechanics of pulp suspension drainage. He conducted fundamental research and development, pilot plant work, and field equipment installations in the areas of headbox design; Fourdrinier foil design; flow and formation of high consistency suspension; twin wire forming; flow of turbulent fiber suspensions; and fiber dispersion and orientation in high shear fields.
Dr. Parker held 22 patents, and his many contributions allowed the development of faster paper machines with better formation, which leads to higher production rates of better quality paper. His work on fiber orientation and sheet formation has allowed the papermaker to have better control over sheet characteristics, such as burst, tear, tensile, and porosity.
Dr. Parker was a TAPPI fellow and was an accredited professional chemist, fellow, in the American Institute of Chemists. He was a member of the American Chemical Society; Knight of St. Patrick, North Carolina State; Tau Beta Pi; Gamma Sigma Epsilon; and Phi Eta Sigma.
Dr. Parker enjoyed youth related activities in his free time and served as a troop leader for both the Boy Scouts and the YMCA Indian Guides. He headed the Beloit YMCA fund drive, to which he contributed generously, and served as Sunday School Superintendent, First Congregational Church. He enjoyed playing handball and was the Beloit city champion for three years.
Dr. Parker was 44 years old when he died on July 21, 1972. He was survived by his wife, Dorothy, and four young children.