William “Billy” Parker
Lives in Lookout Mountain, Tennessee
Parker is a well known artist and writer in Chattanooga. He is the author of a book entitled “Painting Along the Way’” which features his works as he traveled throughout the world. His works are also published in every issue of community papers on Lookout Mountain and Signal Mountain.
Parker was born and raised in the South. Although his immediate family lived in Chattanooga where he was educated, much of his childhood was spent with his grandparents who operated a cotton plantation in South Georgia. He later wrote a book that included much of his memories in the cotton country. He attended public grammar schools and graduated from the McCallie School which when he attended was a private military institution for young men. He entered the University of Tennessee’s School of Journalism where he graduated with honors in 1960. During his senior year he wrote promotional columns for Life Magazine.
Following graduation he took a job as general assignment reporter for the Chattanooga Times which was an important holding of the New York Times. He tells folk with a great deal of pride that he worked for Ruth Sulzberger Holmberg, a granddaughter of the late Adolph Ochs, founder and owner of the New York Times. For a short time he was vice president of an advertising firm and later became director of communications for the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association.
In 1998, Parker founded the Mountain City Publishing Company which today publishes two leading community journals on Lookout Mountain and Signal Mountain. The two newspapers covers the affairs of other communities including Riverview. As a writer Parker is working on two books. Similar to his first book, he is illustrating and writing a book entitled “A Southern Scene” which will include more than 150 watercolor illustrations. The other book he is working on is “An Empire Divided” which encompasses much of the history of Coca-Cola. Research for the book is being gathered in Atlanta History Center and the Woodruff Library at Emory University.
Parker serves on the boards of the Hunter Museum of American Art. The Forest Hills Cemetery and The Chattanooga History Center.