Following in their father's footsteps
Warwick natives Jordan and Leia Parker lost their father, David, to a nasty battle with cancer when they were just 5 and 8 years old, respectively, but his positive influence remains a big part of both of them.
“I thought he was an amazing person,” said Leia, who is currently living in Los Angeles working as an accountant for Warner Brothers while pursuing a career in filmmaking. “From what I found out later in life after I chose to come out here, at one time in his 20s he wanted to come out to Hollywood but he chose to stay in Rhode Island and have a family.”
Leia said that one of the things she remembers most about her father was how he would make home movies with the family – from newscasts, to their own wrestling matches with made up characters. It was partially this influence that Leia credits with her decision to pack up and move to LA – just as her father had once dreamed of doing.
“I feel like from a young age, since I was making films with my dad, it was always a part of me,” she said. “I went to college for film studies, and probably two or three years after graduating I woke up and said ‘I don't belong in Rhode Island anymore.’ I packed up and moved out with nothing but a dream, thinking if I don’t do it, I’ll never know.”
“Seven years later I’m now working at Warner Brothers, so it worked out,” she said.
Jordan Parker was too young to remember the many projects their father worked on around the house prior to his passing, but he said that the desire to create and build things was passed along genetically, regardless.
“He liked working with his hands and woodworking and I kind of picked that up,” he said.
Jordan recently started his own small artisanal business, Parker Project’s, out of his garage (for now), and has already made and completed a buddy bench for the Graniteville school in Johnston. He hopes to be able to build a customer base, buy more tools and set up a legitimate shop outside of his home to specialize in unique furniture and customized woodworking projects.
Jordan learned of his father mostly from stories told by family members, but remembers “treasure hunts” orchestrated by his dad, where notes would be hidden around the house leading to subsequent clues, eventually leading to a treasure box filled with a snack or some other kind of goodie.
“It showed his creative and adventurous side,” he said. “It was something to remember.”
Leia reached out to share the uplifting story as a means to counteract negativity in the news and society that seems to be getting worse rather than better.
“I wanted to help him along and inspire people to follow their dreams,” she said. “It's a beautiful story of passion, dedication and love. Let's spread more positivity.”