Ernest Parker Parra - "Big Daddy" - was born April 30, 1935, in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and passed from this life in Houma, Louisiana on April 1, 2023. The oldest child of Gretchen Marie Parker and Ernest Louis Parra, he grew up with his family in East Carroll Parish, Louisiana: on Waddell Plantation until age seven, and then on Davis Street in Lake Providence. He attended St. Patrick's Catholic Grammar School and then he graduated from Lake Providence High School in 1953. Seeking good times and adventures, Parker migrated south to attend Southwestern Louisiana Institute (SLI, now ULL) in Lafayette, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering in 1958. While at SLI, he joined Phi Kappa Theta National Catholic Fraternity, the Arnold Air Society, and the SLI/ROTC Rifle Team. In addition, he earned membership in the Blue Key National Honor Society.
After graduation, Parker enlisted in the United States Army Reserve. He served on active duty from April 1958 to October 1958 at Fort Chaffe, Arkansas where he was recognized as both Rifleman and Soldier of the month. He was honorably discharged from the US Army on December 31, 1963.
Parker's work in the oil and gas industry in the early 1960's brought him even further south to Terrebonne Parish, where he met a beautiful young widow, Janice Ann Chauvin, and her young daughter, Kimi. Parker and Janice were married on October 2, 1964, in Houma, and Parker adopted Kimi, who had already claimed the surname "Parra" for herself for a year before her parents had even married. Over the next 5 years, Parker and Janice added two sons, Matt and Brett, to complete the family they'd raise together. Parker and Janice attended St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Houma for over fifty years and were active in the St. Francis Parish and School communities, as well as that of Vandebilt Catholic High School.
If South Louisiana could ever hold mountains, Parker's professional career contained enough might to engineer moving them. He earned his Louisiana Professional Engineering license in 1967 and his Texas license in 1984. Parker worked for Oil Center Tool Company from 1958 until 1962. In 1962 he began employment with Engineering Enterprises, where he was the Louisiana Division Manager until 1968. From 1969 until 1970, he worked for Western Cementing Company. After leaving Western Cementing, he formed Parra and Benton Construction, ultimately renamed Parker Parra Contractors in 1974. During his construction career, he served as Secretary of both the Houma Home Builders and the United Contractors, and he was a partner in the development of Summerfield Subdivision and built its first house. But he liked to play as hard as he liked to work, so Parker was also a founding member of Ellendale Country Club. In 1978, he began a new career when he formed Energy Tools, Inc., which provided oilfield fishing, downhole rental tools and services. He retired from his formidable career in 1994 holding three U.S. patents and sold Energy Tools to Enterra/Weatherford. Parker and Janice used this next phase of their lives together to travel the world with friends, and to spend time visiting their grandchildren and taking them on great adventures.
Parker is preceded in death by his parents, Gretchen and Ernest Parra and his brother, William Parra. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Janice; three children Kimi Walker (Richard), Matthew Parra (Jane) and Brett Parra (Rocky); nine grandchildren Brad Bourgeois, Greg Bourgeois, Rebecca Bourgeois, Parker Parra, Jacob Parra, BethAnne Parra, Peyton Parra, Walker Parra, and Matthew Parra; as well as ten great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sisters, Annette Mitchell and Dorothy Kelly.
Visitation will be held from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM on Thursday, April 6, at Chauvin Funeral Home, followed by a funeral Liturgy of the Word at 1:30 PM at the Cathedral of St. Francis de Sales in Houma. Interment will follow at St. Francis Cemetery #2.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to MacDonnell Children's Services of Houma, or to your local autism charity. The Parra Family would also like to express its deep and heartfelt appreciation to Dr. Russell Henry for his decades of tireless and sacrificial service to Parker and his family, especially during Parker's final days.
Chauvin Funeral Home is honored to serve the family of Ernest P. Parra.