IN MEMORIAM: Robert Manley Parker ’64

The legal community and Texas Law are mourning the loss of Judge Robert Manley Parker ’64. Judge Parker was a double Longhorn, earning his B.B.A. in 1961 and his law degree in 1964. After graduating from Texas Law and spending a year in Washington D.C., Parker returned to East Texas to begin his legendary career as a trial lawyer and judge.

In 1979, he was nominated by Senator Lloyd Bentsen to serve as United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Texas, a position to which he was appointed by President Jimmy Carter. Parker went on to serve as Chief Judge of the Eastern District until 1994 when he was appointed by President Bill Clinton to a position as Circuit Judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. There he heard appeals from the federal courts in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi until his retirement from the bench in 2002.

Judge Parker received many awards and accolades in his lifetime, but he was particularly proud of the Judge Robert M. Parker Endowed Presidential Scholarship, the Judge Robert M. Parker Endowed Chair in Law at the University of Texas Law School, and the Lifetime Achievement Award bestowed by the Texas School of Law Alumni Association. 

We are pleased to reprint below Parker’s obituary, published by The Dallas Morning News on August 30, 2020. 

For those who wish to make a gift, the family has asked that contributions be sent to the Judge Robert Parker Endowed Scholarship at Texas Law (http://www.utlsf.org/parker), or the East Texas Food Bank, 3201 Robertson Rd., Tyler, TX 75701. 

Robert Manley Parker, 1937-2020

PARKER, Robert Manley. Robert Manley Parker, age 82, passed away on August 27, 2020 at his home on Greenbriar Lake in Tyler, Texas surrounded by his family. He was born on October 19, 1937 in Longview, Texas to Ross Manley and Ida Lura Parker. He was raised on the family farm in Hallsville and had an idyllic youth, roaming the countryside, hunting and fishing with his father and cousins. His parents, who owned a small grocery store in town, instilled in him a set of values that served him well the rest of his life.

He graduated from Hallsville High School in 1956, then attended Kilgore College and Abilene Christian College before attending and graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in 1961, and from the University of Texas School of Law in 1964. He spent one year in Washington, DC as the Administrative Assistant to U.S. Congressman Ray Roberts before returning to East Texas to begin a distinguished career as a trial lawyer and judge.

He first practiced in Gilmer, Texas, then with firms in Longview before forming the firm of Nichols & Parker with his partner Rex Nichols, Sr. While in private practice in Longview, he tried hundreds of cases before juries, developing a deep understanding of the justice system and a profound respect for the role of trial by jury. Highlights of his private practice include trying one of the first product liability lawsuits in Texas. In 1979, he was nominated by Senator Lloyd Bentsen to serve as a United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Texas. He was appointed by President Jimmy Carter and sat on the federal district court in Beaumont, Marshall, and Tyler, Texas. He later served as Chief Judge of the Eastern District…

READ THE FULL OBITUARY HERE.