The Ada News
Oliver C. Parker recently retired from the Board of Directors of Vision Bank. He began working for The First National Bank of Ada on Aug. 1, 1948, and retired as the Executive Vice President and Trust Officer in 1988. After retiring, he continued to serve as a consultant and remained on the Trust Administration Committee. Parker has served on the Board of Directors since 1964 at what was originally The First National Bank, later changing its name to Vision Bank.
Parker was born at Union Hill in Pontotoc County and raised at Center. He went through eighth grade at Center then graduated from Vanoss High School. He attended East Central State College for two years until moving to California to work in the shipyards. During the summer of 1943, he was inducted into the U.S. Army. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge in 1944 and served until March 1946. After his discharge, he decided he did not want to become a school teacher, so instead of completing his education at East Central, he moved to Oklahoma City to attend Hill’s Business College with plans to pursue a business career. While attending school, he worked part time at an insurance business. Upon graduation, Parker was hired as a manager trainee for TG&Y in Norman. He quickly decided it was not what he wanted to do and returned to Ada. His neighbors had a son who worked at the First National Bank and suggested he apply there. He applied and was hired as a teller. Within a few months, John Norris, president at the time, asked Oliver to consider serving as Trust Officer of the new Trust Department they planned to start.
P.A. Norris, John’s father, founder and president of the First National Bank, had recently died. In his will he named the bank as Executor and Trustee of his estate. This was the bank’s first Trust account. Norris owned the bank in Ada in addition to the bank in Honeygrove, Texas. The Norrises owned about half of the commercial buildings on Main Street in Ada as well as vast real estate holdings in Muskogee, McAlester and several towns in Texas including Paris, Longview, Fort Worth and Lubbock. He owned thousands of acres of ranch land and minerals in Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana plus several cotton gins in Oklahoma and Texas. Parker’s job was to manage these properties and keep them rented, collect the rent, pay the taxes, keep them insured, plus all the additional responsibilities involved in property ownership. When the Norris trust was distributed, Parker was responsible for the sale of that land.
Parker was also instrumental is developing the Norris Hills housing addition in Ada. This involved plotting the land, plus putting in the streets and utilities.
The Norris family owned land near Fittstown where oil was discovered at Fitts Field around 1936. Mr. Norris built a park on part of the land he owned on a spring fed stream he named Sheep Creek. On this beautiful creek he built a swimming pool, bath house, kitchen, and a large stone pavilion with a huge fireplace. On a hill overlooking all this, he also built a stone lodge with a large room and fireplace, kitchen and several bed and bathrooms. Each summer two three-week camps were held for Ada area 6 to 9 year-old boy campers at Sheep Creek. Parker was responsible for hiring the staff and making the arrangements. This totally free camp ran for several years compliments of the Norris family. This recreational facility was also frequently used by the family, church groups, civic clubs and First National Bank employees.
Since P. A. Norris’ death put the bank in the trust business, the bank worked to expand and increase its Trust Department. Parker became involved with the Oklahoma Bankers Association Trust Division and served on many committees and was elected president.
Parker played an instrumental role in the construction of the new Valley View Regional Hospital in the early 1980s. The bank had been named as the trustee of the bond indenture which financed the construction of the hospital. Parker signed every check during the construction phrase.
During his tenure, Parker worked for four bank presidents: John Norris, Phillip Norris (P.A. Norris Jr.), Benton Browning and Wilson Roberts. The Trust Department grew to $30 million when Parker retired in 1988. Assets are now over $100 million. “The success and growth of the bank’s Trust Department was in large part due to Oliver Parker’s ability to work with the local estate planning attorneys and CPAs. He had an excellent reputation as an investment manager” stated Keywood Deese, Senior Vice President and Trust Officer who succeeded Parker as head of the Trust Department.
Parker was active in the Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees), Community Chest (United Way) and joined the Ada Kiwanis Club in 1949 which he is still a member.
Parker and his wife Z.D. Parker have two daughters: Patti Hager, and her husband John and Vicki Patton and her two sons Parker and Payton Patton. He is a member of the Central Church of Christ. He enjoys sports and spending time with his family and grandsons.