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Virginia Parker, 90, Longtime Teacher, Coach At Staples In Westport

Virginia "Jinny" E. Parker led the field hockey team at Staples to a record of 193 wins, 44 losses and 28 ties in her more than 25 years of coaching.
Virginia "Jinny" E. Parker led the field hockey team at Staples to a record of 193 wins, 44 losses and 28 ties in her more than 25 years of coaching. Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTPORT, Conn. — Virginia "Jinny" E. Parker, a longtime teacher and beloved coach of girls sports at Staples High School in Westport, died Thursday, July 9, at the Woodlawn Care Facility in Newport, N.H. She was 90.

She was the fifth and last child of Fred C. and Hallie E. (Hinschillwood) Parker on Dec. 28, 1924, and was the only girl.

She attended Newport schools, graduating from Towle High School, Class of 1942, where she lettered in spirit, skiing and field hockey.

She graduated from the University of New Hampshire, Class of 1946, where she participated in field hockey, ski team, softball and the UNH Outing Club; was vice president of the Women's Recreation Association; and was inducted into the Tau Kappa Alpha Forensic and Sigma Beta Biology Societies.

She went on to graduate work at Boston University, earning a Masters of Education in1955, followed by additional graduate work at Columbia University and the University of Bridgeport.

Her 35-year teaching career was launched at Kents Hill Prep School in Maine from 1946 to 1951, followed by Berlin, NH's Junior-Senior High School, 1951-54, and finally Staples High School in Westport from 1955 to 1981.

At Staples for 26 years, Parker coached girl's track and field, basketball, softball, field hockey, intramurals and cheerleading. She started the track and field team at Staples in 1961, with five or six girls on the first team.

Her professional activities included Connecticut Track & Field Chairman (1965-70); U.S. AAU Track Rules Committee, (1968-70); co-authorship of Track & Field for Girls and Women, W.B. Saunders Series, 1969; Connecticut representative to the National Association of Girls and Women's Sports, Estes Park, Colo., 1971; and member of the Board of Directors Fairfield County Coaches Association (1976-1981).

Parker was singled out, first for Westport's Town Crier Special Coaches Award ('66) and then Teacher of the Year two years later from the University of Bridgeport ('68).

From the Connecticut High School Coaches Association came Coach of the Year in Field Hockey ('76) and then Track ('79), followed by in 1980 the National H.S. Athletic Coaches Association District 1 Coach of the Year in Track and in 1981, induction into the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

In the 1990's more than ten years after retirement, she received recognition by: New Agenda Northeast, Women's Hall of Fame ('92), National Association for Girls & Women's Sports' Pathfinder Award ('94), Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference Hall of Fame ('97), and University of New Hampshire Wildcat Winner's Circle, Hall of Honor ('97).

At Staples, there is now a Virginia E. Parker playing field, dedicated in 2002. She was thrilled with its electronic scoreboard and 2014's new bleachers. The Connecticut Field Hockey Coaches Association inducted her in 2003 into its Hall of Fame.

Her record with the Staples field hockey team from 1955 to 1980 included: 193 wins, 44 losses and 28 ties; county champion in 1976, 1977 and 1980; and state tournament semifinalist from 1974 to 1980 and runner-up in 1974.

She retired back to her hometown of Newport. She is survived by many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews. She was predeceased by her parents, four brothers and two sisters in law.

The Rev. Craig Cowing, pastor, South Congregational Church, will officiate at the graveside committal services scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 6, at 2 p.m. at the North Newport Cemetery.

Contributions in her name may be made to the senior citizens' Outreach Program and mailed to: Sullivan County Nutrition Services, c/o Wendy Callum, P.O. Box 387, Newport, NH 03773.

Arrangements were handled by the Newton- Bartlett Funeral Home, 42 Main St., Newport, N.H.

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