Ralph Willard

Ralph L. Willard, dean and president of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, 1975-1985, died Jan. 30. Willard was appointed dean of TCOM, which would evolve into the UNT Health Science Center, when the private medical school received full state support and was placed under the direction of the North Texas regents and president. In 1981, he became the second president of the college. During his tenure, three major buildings were constructed as the medical school grew into a modern campus in the Fort Worth Cultural District. He received the college’s Founder’s Medal in 1985.Willard, his parents, his son and his sister all were osteopathic physicians. He attended Cornell College and received degrees from Coe College and the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. He was chief surgeon and chief of staff at Davenport Osteopathic Hospital in Iowa before becoming the dean of the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, and later was associate dean at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine and at West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.He served as a bomber pilot in World War II and the Korean War, and was commander of the 20th Medical Service Squadron at Fort Worth’s Carswell Air Force Base. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross during World War II. Survivors include his wife, Margaret Dennis Willard (’58 M.Ed.).

Walt Parker

Walt Parker, retired UNT System vice chancellor of governmental affairs who worked at North Texas from 1979 to 2004, died Jan. 22. His long career included service as a teacher, coach, builder, legislator and administrator. He played football as a student at North Texas and worked for 42 years as an American Football League and National Football League official and observer of officials, participating in more than 300 games, including two Super Bowls. He was inducted into the UNT Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995 for his football accomplishments. Parker was a fitness officer in the Army Air Corps during World War II and later served during the Korean War. He began his first term as a Texas state representative for Denton and Cooke counties in 1969 and served five consecutive terms. In 1979, he joined North Texas as an assistant to the president and served as vice president and later vice chancellor for governmental affairs. He played a key role in securing funding for university initiatives such as the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science. He also was instrumental in the establishment of the Texas Higher Education Assistance Fund, which provides money for construction, renovation and equipment to universities outside the Permanent University Fund, including UNT. He married his college sweetheart, Mildred Brock Parker (’40, ’70 M.A.), who died last year. Parker earned his master’s degree in public school administration from Texas Christian University.