On Monday, October 14, 2019, Joseph Ashby Parker, age 51, passed away suddenly due to cardiac arrest while outdoors near his home north of Stratton, Ontario.
Joe was born December 4, 1967 in Halifax, Nova Scotia to the late Colonel Loren H. Reynolds of Clarenceville, Québec and Penelope (Parker) Reynolds of San Diego, California. Due to his father’s military career, Joe lived in a variety of places and moved frequently throughout his upbringing.
As a result, Joe became very adept at meeting new people and making friends wherever he went. His genuine, kind, considerate, humble and humorous demeanour put people at ease and easily engaged them in friendly conversation. For high school, Joe and his younger brother Chris attended King’s Edgehill private boarding school in Windsor, Nova Scotia while his parents were posted to Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Following high school graduation, Joe attended Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS for a year and lived with his Aunt Debbie Reynolds, with whom he was very close. He participated in the Summer Youth Employment Program with the Naval Reserves Winnipeg where he met his very best friends: Peter, Dan and Andy. Joe’s parents (living in Winnipeg at the time) purchased a cottage on Lake of the Woods near Kenora. Joe was stunned that such a beautiful place actually existed and he finally felt at home. He loved the topography and lakes of the Canadian shield.
While employed during the summer at near-by Smith Camps, Joe met Shari Morken. After 11 years of friendship and long-distance relationship, they were married in Nestor Falls, ON in 2002.
Joe attended photography school in Atlanta, Georgia, earned a diploma in Culinary Arts at Red River Community College and cooked in many Winnipeg restaurants as well as Guelph, ON. He was the founding cook at Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre near Stratton.
While Joe loved cooking, after a few years, he decided to pursue other career options. Joe attended the Adult Ed Centre in Winnipeg, MB to upgrade his high school education in order to attend Lakehead University earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry (2004). As a forestry summer student, Joe worked for Kimberley-Clark in Longlac, ON and later for TimberRidge Forestry (Colin and Trish Neilson) as a thinner. Joe loved the simple, remote wilderness lifestyle of a thinner.
In 2004, Joe and Shari moved to Shari’s maternal grandparents’ farm north of Stratton.
Joe worked for Abitibi-Consolidated/Abitibi-Bowater in Fort Frances as a Silvicultural Forester and was later transferred to the wood scales for Resolute. In 2014, Joe received his pink slip from Resolute and was employed soon after at the MNR-F in Fort Frances as a Resource Technician and later became the Forestry Technical Specialist.
As much as Joe loved the isolated wilderness of northwestern Ontario, he also loved the people he met. He enjoyed music, time with friends and family, reading, poetry, art history, drawing, photography, fishing and camping, boating, wood working, sharpening his cooking knives, coffee, cooking, cycling, trees, his cat and being silly with his children.
Joe was predeceased by his father Loren, Uncle Donnie and Aunt Alma Reynolds, Aunt Pat Reynolds, father-in-law Don Morken, mother-in-law Sharon Morken, brother-in-law Lyle Morken and prenatal son Ashby. He is survived by his wife Shari, children Cleo, Tompson and Niels, mother Penny Reynolds of Lago de Chapala, México, brother Chris of Derry, New Hampshire, nephews Sebastian Reynolds and Matthew Watts as well as numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
A memorial gathering to honour Joe will take place on Sat., Nov. 2nd at 1pm at the Stratton Community Hall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation, Tree Canada or the Nature Conservancy of Canada by Cheque/c/o Northridge Funeral Home, Box 89, Emo, ON P0W 1E0.