|Eugene M. "Gene" Parker|
Sheriff of Franklin Parish, Louisiana
|Succeeded by||Steve Pylant|
|Born|| October 17, 1939|
|Died|| November 2, 2018 (aged 79)|
|Spouse(s)||Marilyn Hester Parker (married 1962-2018, his death)|
|Children|| Mike Parker|
Jane Parker Biggs
Eugene M. Parker, known as Gene Parker (October 17, 1939 – November 2, 2018), was a Democrat who served from 1972 to 1996 as the sheriff of Franklin Parish in northeastern Louisiana. His time as sheriff coincided with the administrations of Governors Edwin Edwards, David C. Treen, and Buddy Roemer.
A son of George O. Parker, Sr., and the former Katie Mae Lupo, Parker graduated in 1957 from Winnsboro High School in the parish seat of Winnsboro. From 1959 to 1962, he served in the United States Army. After working for an ice cream company, he became a police officer in Monroe, at which he worked his way to the rank of detective. In 1969, he joined the Louisiana State Police and became a sergeant of the narcotics agents known as the "Dirty Dozen." He resigned from the state police after two years to run in 1971 as sheriff of Franklin Parish. His victories for fourth, fifth, and sixth terms were the first ever for a Franklin Parish sheriff. After leaving the sheriff's office, he was a warden at the Tensas Detention Center and operated a business, the Providence Memorial Cemetery.
In the 1987 primary for sheriff, Parker won his fifth term with 65.3 percent of the vote. In 1991, however, he was forced into a runoff election and barely defeated his fellow Democrat, "Dewey" Donnell, 51.4 to 48.6 percent. Donnell had even led in the first round of balloting, 49.1 to 45.3 percent. In 1995, Parker did not run for a seventh term, and Steve Pylant defeated three rivals to become the first Republican to serve as sheriff of Franklin Parish.
During his tenure as sheriff, Parker sought to designate funding to purchase a vehicle known as the "Jaws of Life" to assist in the rescue of persons involved in automobile and farming accidents. He established a substance abuse program. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Northeast Louisiana Substance Abuse Clinic. He was instrumental in the development of the parish 9-11 program. he also convinced parish voters to approve a one-cent sales tax to fund the construction of the Franklin Parish Detention Center, which opened in 1992.
Parker married the former Marilyn Hester, a daughter of Clark and Martha Hester. The couple had three children, Mike Parker and wife Kim of Gilbert, Louisiana; Jane Biggs and husband Billy of Columbia in Caldwell Parish, and Scott Parker and wife Becky of Crowville, also in Franklin Parish. Parker died at the age of seventy-nine. Services were held on November 6, 2018, at Temple Baptist Church in Winnsboro. Among his honorary pallbearers are retired Louisiana Supreme Court Associate Justice Chet Traylor, current Sheriff Kevin Wayne Cobb, and Jeff Britt, former sheriff of Tensas Parish, also in northeastern Louisiana.
- Eugene "Gene" Parker. The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved on November 5, 2018.
- Louisiana Secretary of State, Franklin Parish Election Returns, 1987, 1991, and 1995.