Lillian Mayo Parker was born on November 22, 1927, to F.D. Mayo and Sarah Butler Mayo in Bessemer, Alabama. Lillian was preceded in death by her beloved parents and her sisters, Freddie Mayo and Elizabeth Mayo Watson. On Monday, January 3, 2022, Lillian peacefully received her Angel Wings and went to be with her Lord and Savior.
She confessed her belief in Christ at an early age and joined New Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Bessemer. She remained a faithful member until her musical talents were needed by Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church.
Lillian’s gift as a pianist was recognized very early. She began playing the piano at the age of five and began playing for her church at the age of nine. She moved her church membership to Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church after accepting the position of Youth Choir Musician. She accepted the position of Minister of Music for the Adult Choir, and also served as President of the Missionary Society. She retired from the position of Minister of Music at Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church after serving over fifty years. Her popularity as a skilled musician was widely recognized, and as a result she was asked to share her talent with several additional churches around the city following her retirement. Lillian’s most recent service as pianist was with Unity Lutheran Church in Birmingham, Alabama. She served there until the pandemic caused the church to suspend Sunday services.
Lillian received her education in the Bessemer City School system, where she graduated from Dunbar High School. She furthered her education at West Virginia University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in English and a minor in Music. She continued her education at Alabama A&M University in Normal, Alabama where she earned a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling.
Lillian’s career as an educator was served in the Birmingham City School system where she taught English and Choral for 37 years. Following her retirement, she joined the Peace Corps. She was the first woman of color to be assigned by the Peace Corps to Hungary. While there, she taught English as a second language at the University of Debrecen in Debrecen, Hungary under the administration of former President George H.W. Bush. While in Hungary, her talent as a musician was quickly recognized, and she used her talent to teach gospel songs to the Hungarians. During her Peace Corp service, she also traveled to Romania, Slovenia and Australia where she continued to share her musical talent by teaching gospel songs.
Lillian was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. She devoted many years as a dedicated member of her beloved sorority and consistently fulfilled the sorority’s mandate to provide service to others. She also used her talent and dedication by encouraging young ladies of color by supporting their participation in AKA sponsored activities. Those activities included the sorority’s Annual Ms. Fashionetta and the Pink Fantasia.
She leaves to cherish her memories: two daughters, Dr. June Syke-Fountain, J.D. and Kim Parker Oliver; one son, Randolph Parker, III; one stepdaughter, Gail Parker; two granddaughters, Maia Ajene Fountain and Kesi (Korey) Anderson; three grandsons, Ryan Fountain, Nathan Oliver and William Oliver; four great grandchildren, Tabria Christion, Devin Bandy, Kadri Oliver and Kyrie Anderson; one niece, Gilda Watson; four nephews, James (Brunetta) Smith, David Hood, Michael Watson and Booker T. Watson, Jr. In addition to her musical talent, Lillian had a unique and jovial personality which made her popular in Birmingham and surrounding suburbs. She loved people, and among those who will have many cherished memories are her former student Clarence Davis; Erskine, Jr. (Andrea) Faush, Brittany Faush-Dunn, Tyler Faush, Cameron and Ariel Jenkins, Shernithia, Imani and Imaria Johnson and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins, as well as members of Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church Family and the Sorors of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.