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Darryl Parker Dies; Was Face of TFT

Colleagues recall a “gentleman” committed to customer service

darryl parkerDarryl Parker has died.

For radio engineers, Parker for many years was the face of TFT, a company that manufactured STL, EAS and monitoring equipment.

His death was announced on his Facebook page by his wife Elizabeth Parker. He had been in hospice care with a neuroendocrine tumor and died Friday. He was 77.

TFT, based in San Jose, Calif., was established in 1970 in Santa Clara in the Silicon Valley. Parker held the position of senior vice president for many years, and was the person best known to engineers who purchased TFT equipment.

After that company closed in 2015, Parker offered support services to its former customers and assisted other technicians and engineers in doing so as well.

“Personally I want to help all the people who have helped me over the years,” he told Radio World at the time.

“A super nice guy,” one industry colleague told RW this week. “He tried his best to keep TFT afloat.” “A great man, always available and happy to help with whatever we needed,” wrote former NPR engineering executive Mike Starling on Facebook. “A gentleman,” said engineering veteran Tom Ray.

Parker was born in Dallas, Texas, and grew up in the city of Terrill. He attended Southern Methodist University and earned his B.A. in classics and mathematics. According to his Facebook page he also studied high-tech marketing at Caltech.

Parker started in broadcasting by working at a local radio station that was owned by a friend’s family. He worked on-air and in news before moving into engineering. While in high school he also worked as a grip on the movie “Giant.”

Darryl Parker and Wilbur the cat
Parker was not afraid to make a little fun of himself. “Wilbur the cat was Darryl’s best buddy for the last decade,” Elizabeth Parker said.

He also had a love of liturgical music; he started organ lessons when in grade school and played for dozens of churches in his life. “The Sunday before his last hospitalization he was at the organ bench,” Elizabeth Parker said.

Former professional positions also included director of marketing at Alligator Communications; president of Parcom Inc.; sales manager at MZB & Associates; and electrical engineering director at Texas State Networks.

He is survived by his wife, a sister, two children, his step-daughter, three grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, stepmother, and brother.

Services will be announced later. “At Darryl’s wishes, he will be scattered in his beloved Texas at a later date,” his wife told Radio World.