Glynda Parker was a nursing instructor at Temple College for more than three decades.
She taught in the Licensed Vocational Nurse program, eventually heading up the department before she retired. Parker retired, but just barely. She went on to work part time with nursing students in the school’s simulation lab.
On Tuesday, Parker’s daughter, Melissa Parker, met with Jennifer Graham, executive director of the Temple College Foundation to finalize the formation of the Glynda Parker Clinical Excellence Scholarship for nursing students.
Looking for a photo opportunity for the announcement Graham suggested nursing students as the backdrop. The students in the lecture hall Tuesday are already LVNs and are taking bridging classes to get them to the registered nurse designation.
Upon entering the lecture hall, Melissa recognized Gwendolyn St. Martin, who had served as a nurse for her mother at the Baylor Scott & White Continuing Care Hospital. Parker died March 30.
“Glynda was all about the students and Melissa kind of grew up in our hallways,” Graham told the students.
It’s estimated that Glynda Parker taught at least 3,000 students while at TC, Melissa Parker said.
“She had a passion for students and helping them succeed,” Melissa said. “She loved the LVN program.”
Though nursing seems to run in the family, her mother, both grandmothers and most of her aunts were nurses, Melissa teaches developmental English classes at TC.
“I couldn’t do nursing,” she said. “That’s a skill set I don’t have.”
Glynda Parker and her twin sister decided to become nurses at a young age, Melissa said. “There was nothing else they wanted to do more than become a nurse.”
Glynda demanded a lot from her students in class, but she also wanted them to be compassionate with their patients.
Melissa said her mother was in the hospital for 10 weeks before her death.
“It was grueling and it was the nurses who gathered around us and kept us going,” she said.
“As the family who is taking this journey with someone they adore, you have to have those nurses loving on you with support and assurances,” Melissa said.
The Parker family knew that the story couldn’t end at Glynda’s death.
“This is the place that she invested her life in,” she said of Temple College.
Melissa said she and her father had talked about the time they missed with Glynda because she worked long hours.
“It was a great tradeoff because she was passionate about what she was doing here and it brought her such joy and contentment,” Melissa said.
Melissa attended many graduations while her mother taught at TC.
“I can’t tell you how many pinning ceremonies I’ve attended,” she said.
Glynda Parker went back to school to get her bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s and this served as model for her daughter.
“She was my role model and illustrated how education was a path to success,” Melissa said.
A nursing scholarship in honor of Glynda Parker seemed like a fitting way to honor her legacy and Melissa began accepting donations online.
Not knowing how successful they would be, the family decided if they didn’t meet the $5,000 goal, they would make up the difference.
“We were not going to fail with my mom’s name on it,” she said.
Within four days $5,000 in donations had been pledged.
“I think it speaks to her life and the way she cared for people,” Melissa said. “I think she would be so humbled, she never knew how valuable her input was.”