Harlingen, Texas: Dec. 5, 1942 - Feb. 17, 2024

Dennis Robert Parker


Dennis Robert Parker, born December 5, 1942, went home to be with Jesus Feb. 17, 2024, at Valley Baptist Hospital in Harlingen, TX at the age of 81 years and 2 months.
A memorial service was held at Christian Fellowship Church in Harlingen, TX Feb. 24, at 2 p.m. A memorial service will be held at Center Point Church in Mt. Lake, Minnesota on May 25, 2024.
Dennis Robert Parker, the only son of Robert William and Laura Alice (Christenson) Parker, was born December 5, 1942 in Arlington, South Dakota. Dennis grew up on the family farm 3 miles East of Arlington. Dennis went to Brookings County Windsor #18 country school through the 8th grade. Dennis graduated from Arlington High School in 1960. He graduated from South Dakota State College in Brookings, South Dakota in 1964 with a B.S. degree in Industrial Arts Education.
Dennis enlisted in the US Army in August, 1964, completing his basic training at Fort Gordon, Georgia. He was stationed with the 25th infantry division, Schofield barracks, Hawaii in 1965. January through August 1966 he was stationed in Pleiku, Vietnam.
Dennis married Joan Elberta Bos of Edgerton, MN Dec. 4, 1965. in Waikiki Baptist Church Waikiki, Hawaii.
Upon separation from the Army in August, 1966, Dennis returned to his bride in Waikiki and they remained there as civilians for a year.
The decision was made in 1967 to take advantage of the G.I. bill to get his Master’s Degree. He attended Colorodo State College in Greeley, Colorado, graduating in December of 1968. Dennis taught Industrial Arts 3 years in New Castle, Delaware and 7 years in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He taught 1 final year in his home school in Arlington, South Dakota.
Dennis started building models in his youth. In 1971 he started collecting farm toys which grew into Dennis creating more detailed models of existing toy tractors. He became acquainted with a number of other toy collectors and became a vital part in the growth of the farm toy hobby. A growing number of toy shows were started around the country and magazines were published which reported on this growing hobby. Dennis made a detailed model of a 1937 John Deere A tractor. He showed this model to fellow collectors to see if there was an interest in their purchasing a copy from him. He made and sold multiple models of his tractor.
In 1980 Dennis and Joan started a home based business called Dakota Toys. They sold toy parts to toy collectors around the world. Dennis also customized existing toy tractors to make them far more detailed. Tractors that were sold included details of how someone could build it themself, and were featured in the Toy Farmer Magazine each month. The article included instructions and a complete list of parts needed to customize the featured model.
They also supplied a detailed parts catalogue to all of their customers. Dennis and Joan sold Dakota Toys in 1995 and retired. They were inducted into the Toy Collectors hall of fame in 2003 at the National Farm Toy Show in Dyersville, Iowa.
Dennis and Joan traveled to Hawaii, England, Netherlands, and France during the course of their marriage.
Dennis and Joan started wintering in Harlingen, Texas in 1996. They purchased their winter home in Lakewood Village. One of the highlights of their retirement years in Harlingen was belonging to Christian Fellowship Church (CFC) and their involvement there. Joan died May 4, 2011.
Dennis married Patty Blackstad October 12, 2013 at the Alliance Missionary Church in Mt. Lake, MN. Dennis and Patty honeymooned in Maui, Hawaii. They made their home on Patty’s building site North of St. James, MN. Dennis sold his building site East of Arlington, South Dakota. They continued wintering in Harlingen, Texas.
Dennis and Patty enjoyed taking some sightseeing trips to the western US and the East coast on their way home from Harlingen some springs. Dennis, Patty and Patty’s daughter Brenda traveled to Norway and England the summer of 2019.
Dennis is survived by his wife of 10 years, Patty Parker, her children and their mates, her grandchildren and their mates, her great-grandchildren, Dennis’s sister and brother-in-law Carol and Larry Heemeyer, 4 nieces and their mates, sister-in-laws and brother-in-laws from his first marriage.
Preceding Dennis in death are his parents, first wife Joan, her parents, sister-in-laws and brother-in-laws from this marriage.