Anita June Parker, OSU professor, author, and beloved Columbus, Ohio community member, passed on June 6th, 2020. Born on December 31, 1967 in Massillon, Ohio, Anita was a complex and multi-faceted individual.
She was a master of social interaction - skillfully able to connect with anyone, somehow both respecting their boundaries and being open to where the conversation took them. People around her always felt valued, respected and included, whether they were students in her classes, or a shy stranger she encountered at a meet n’ greet. Her students continued to reach out to her years after graduation, sometimes to ask for trusted and valued advice, and sometimes simply to share good news about a career change or baby’s first steps, with someone they knew genuinely cared.
Anita was also a crafter, creator, and fixer. She was artistically gifted in her love of painting, sewing, woodworking, restoring antiques, and photography. She was also downright “handy” - able to fix a hole in the wall, repair a roof, frame walls, plant a garden and rewire faulty electrical devices.
Professionally, Anita taught at The Ohio State University in the Department of Human Sciences. Her passion for teaching extended past the classroom when she became a mentor for the Second-Year Transformational Experience Program. Anita always encouraged her students to think outside the box and entertain differing opinions.
To her friends and family, Anita was a trusted and empathetic confidant. She is survived by her daughter Kinley Parker, mother Carol Tonkins, brother Eric Tonkins, niece Christina, nephew Elijah, great-nephew Austin, her found family and friends, and her many students.
No formal funeral or services will be held. The family is requesting that in lieu of flowers a toast to life be given instead. (Anita’s beverage of choice was a simple black coffee).
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