By Morgan Bryce
This is the second installment of a four-part series of prominent Opelikans and their favorite Christmas memories or traditions. On behalf of the Opelika Observer staff, we hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season ahead.
To longtime Opelika educator and native Patsy Parker, the Christmas season is a time for family to come together and celebrate in the joy of the season.
Patsy’s mother, Chinissa Boyd, was the main driving force of Christmas celebrations in the past. Following her passing in 2002, Patsy said family members take turns each year to remember her mother by sitting in her beloved rocking chair and sharing their favorite memories.
“There’s not a day that passes that one of her grandchildren won’t bring her up and say something she used to say or do. She was and always will be the light of our lives,” Patsy said.
Patsy and her husband Bill Sr. have been married for 61 years. Parents of two children, Bill Jr. and Nancy, Patsy said their Christmas celebrations focus on them and their seven grandchildren.
“Nowadays, we do stuff with all of my family on Christmas Eve, go visit Bill Jr. and his family early Christmas morning and then head down to New Orleans to see Nancy and her family. We stay busy,” Patsy said.
Born and raised in Opelika, Patsy is a graduate of Darden High School. With education and teaching degrees from Alabama State and Auburn, she spent 36 years working as an English teacher and guidance counselor at her alma mater and Opelika High School.
Patsy still works part-time as a student adviser at Southern Union’s Opelika campus and serves on the Opelika City Board of Education, a position she has held since 2004, all part of her way of contributing to her beloved hometown.
“… I don’t want to ever slow down. I’ve never not had something to do, and I want it to stay that way,” Patsy said.