A Conversation for Happy Tom Parker

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Post 1

sylvia parker

Hello Everyone

I'm Sylvia Rose Parker, one of Happy Tom Parkers' granddaughters. My father Henry Thomas Parker, was Happy Toms' eldest son, born in Sheffield on December 10th 1899.

I am the youngest of five children, two boys, Raymond and Derek Leslie and three girls, June, Malita May and myself. born to Henry Thomas and his wife, Jane also a theatrical performer.

My dad left home as a 13 year old to 'tread the boards' in theatre. He played the juvenile lead in the play 'The Speckled Band' when he was 14yrs. An old press cutting describes him as a talented youngster with a promising future. He further performed in Music Hall and 'On The Bounce' under the name Jolly Tom Parker. He was thereafter known as 'Uncle Jolly' by his extended family.
During the 2nd World War, he entertained the troops abroad in the guise of comedian, musician and dancer. In 1943 he took over the post of manager director at the Palladium Theatre Edinburgh under his new professional name of Roy Don.

Like his father, Happy Tom Parker, my dad was a multi-talented individual. Besides being known for his performing talents, he became well known for his artistic abilities and photography. He was responsible for hand sketching posters for many well known Scottish Music Hall personalities. These in turn were presented as front of house adverts for forthcoming shows.. His art works have been exhibited at numerous theatrical events by his elder daughter June,

Following his impresario days, my father turned his hobby of photography into a successful business, the 'Roy Don Variety Press' As the resident photographer for many corporate events in and around Edinburgh, he continued to entertain audiences playing piano, dancing and singing until his untimely death.

Henry Thomas Parker, alias 'Jolly Tom' and 'Roy Don', died after a short illness, on 29th January 1959 at the age of 59 years. He is buried in Piershill Cemetery, Edinburgh.

It saddens me not to have known my grandfather, but hopefully through this technology I can contact other members of the Happy Tom Parker ‘Clan’
I have reached this far, through my second cousin Dulci Dave who is responsible for the in-depth research into our family tree. I know there are many more Parkers out there including David in Cambridge and you John, Alberts’ son.
Henry Thomas Parker and Jane Williamson Ward my father and late mother are survived by five children, 12 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren and to date, 4 great-great grandchildren. Many of these offspring have inherited the Parker theatrical talents! I wonder what Happy Tom would have made of it all! Yes! The show does go on.

happy tom parker

Post 2


hi sylvia, we moved house at the end of january, having sold just before christmas, so my computer checks have been a bit erratic. i've only just found your message dated 31.12.2010. dulcima dave has provided me with some photo's which i gather came from you. my father did have grandads masonic apron and his fob watch but these have long since gone. i still have granma's teapot cica 1912 with her name on it and grandads ring which may have come from julia when my dad was born. we also have a sampler which granma made and came from the streatham house. its a long time ago but when i was a small boy, i remember your parents visiting us one evening when we lived in greenford. my parents never spoke about the parkers and they never mentioned that our first cousin dave visited the family house after i got married and moved to the west country. i do know that before my dad married he had a driving licence and mentioned driving a bullnose morris which may have been grandads? we know very little about my dads early life other than that in the early 1930's he was a clerk in the shipping area. i remember loads of testimonials in a drawer and it was when he started courting my mother that her father sought out a job for him in woolwich arsenal. my younger sister took up ballet and kept at it and was on television in adverts for wondercrisps and warners holidays. she was also in seaside holiday shows and was brought home in mike winters rolls with his brother and dog for company. she eventually went to italy for a summer season in a show where three friends married three brothers in the accompanying band. she stayed in italy taking up teaching and employing her extended italian family in the business. she had a serious heart problem and underwent two transplants over the years. she was being considered for a third when she died at easter last year whilst under tests in hospital. .i hope we can converse further regarding our grandparents and family as there is much i don't know about. i hope to visit dave in cambridge later this year when i visit my cousin who lives in suffolk. regards, john

happy tom parker

Post 3

sylvia parker

Hi Cousin John!
So sorry not to have been in touch before now but I have only just accessed your response to my last posting! I'm afraid I don't quite understand all this techno.jargon thus I try to avoid taxing my brain too much!! When it gets to complicated for me I just 'switch off'. It then takes me months to get back on by which time I've forgotten passwords etc. !!!!!!!! However, here I am back on line for another go!
It was so good to hear all your news but I was so sorry to hear of the loss of your sister. I would love to have met her. It's so awful to realise that there were family members we never knew and then it's too late. I am so glad though that we have made contact and it would be great to keep in touch from now on. I hear from Cambridge Dave but have not heard from Dulci Dave for a while. We did meet for the first time over a year ago when Bruce and I were on holiday. Although we are second cousins I could not believe how alike we were! Hopefully we too can meet up sometime.
We lost our brother Raymond on 29th August. He died after having a stroke aged 86. He is survived by his son Mark and daughter Wendy. We miss him so much. He was the oldest in the family and of course I am the 'baby'. I still have my other brother Derek who is 80 this year,
June the dancer (84) and still doing well and next to me May who is 73
You are about the same age as me. I was 67 in August. Getting on aren't we!!!!
John, it might be simpler to keep in touch with me via my e.mail which you can obtain from either Davids. I'm more 'tuned in' with e.mails
Look forward to hearing from you. Regards to you and yours
Aye, Sylvia

smiley - biggrin

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