The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Meet Your Neighbor

By Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher/Owner

Meet your neighbor, Steven Parker, who you might have met in any of several capacities. He is pictured here as a conductor for Amtrak when Amtrak showed its forty year exhibit train in Burlington, Iowa recently.

Steven is from Burlington, Iowa, son of Mary Parker and the late Robert Parker, who was a sales representative for a trucking line.

Mary was from Washington, Iowa but after marrying Robert, the couple settled in Burlington, where she was a housewife and mother. They raised Steven and four other children, two brothers Terry and Brad (both deceased) and his two sisters (retired teachers) Patti Scott of South Carolina with a second home in St. Louis, and sister Jan Zajac of St Louis, MO. Both sisters are busy watching the Cardinals and planning a trip to the World Series.

Steven graduated from Mediapolis High School in Iowa and NE Missouri State (Truman State), Kirksville, MO with a degree in Criminal Justice. He married Teresa Anderson from Roseville, daughter of Merlin and Jennie Torrance Anderson. Teresa works in the doctor's office of Family Practice near Great River Medical Center.

Steven is retired from the Des Moines County Sheriff's office. He's taken care of McGruff The Crime Dog for 33 years -"Taking a Bite Out of Crime," and will make his 6,000th volunteer appearance this week!

He appears in parades, festivals, schools, nursing homes, Ag Safety Days and more and does shows on Internet Safety.

He was a D.A.R.E. officer for 21 years, and was named 2011 D.A.R.E. officer of the year in Iowa.

In 1995 and 1998 he was named State of Iowa Crime Prevention Practitioner of the Year. In 1988 he was named National Crime Prevention Practitioner of the year. He received the George Sunderland Award, a lifetime achievement award in crime prevention.

In 1986 he received a rare award for an Iowan, "Honorary Kentucky Colonel" by the Kentucky State Senate approval for his McGruff work.

In 1994 he received the National Enrique Camerena Drug Education Award from the U.S. District Attorney's office.

Steven is a baseball-softball umpire, from 1991 to 2008 he was a conductor for the Ft. Madison, Farmington, Western railroad, which ran on the old CB&Q branch line.

He is an actor and singer taking part in the Mediapolis, Iowa Community Theater and plans on trying out for President Roosevelt in the musical ANNIE.

He is owner-operator of Mr. Frostee, s a soft ice cream store on wheels. It can make a variety of ice cream delights, Cones, Shakes, Malts, Sundaes, Artic Freezee, Banana boats, Shaved Ice and soda's to name a few which he takes to Heritage Days, Des Moines County Fairs, Farmers Market, birthdays, etc.

He takes part in the summer reading programs, is a Christian Pastor at Oakville, Iowa, helps as an interim pastor at Danville, Iowa.

Under the name "The Fun Factory" Steven entertains with comedy magic, Ventriloquism, music, stage illusions, and balloon sculptures. He performs for company picnics, festivals, fairs, Bible schools, gospel events, trade shows, scouts, seniors, schools, banquets, you name it.

People in the ventriloquist business plus several appraisers who have seen the Charlie McCarthy head that Steven uses, say they are 98% sure the "Charlie head" looks like one of the originals used by the late great ventriloquist Edgar Bergen. It is a hand carved wood head, very detailed and old. Bergen and his Charlie McCarthy appeared on many shows in radio, TV, and movies.

"I would have to verify it with the Bergen family to absolutely know for sure. I have had many photo's gone through to verify."

Edgar Bergen donated his very first Charlie to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington. His last one used in programs along with Mortimer Snerd and Effie Klinker are in the Museum of Broadcasting in Chicago. Steven has personally seen those. The magician David Copperfield has two of them and the Bergen family also has a Charlie.

Edgar Bergen had several made over the years. Steven purchased his from a ventriloquist maker who bought it from an estate several years ago.

"I took Charlie to Antiques Roadshow when the program was taped in Des Moines a couple of years ago. Several appraisers looked at him and drew quite an interest. Because I didn't have any official paper work stating the Charlie McCarthy I had was actually made for Edgar Bergen, they couldn't put it on the air."

However, Steven did obtain a very good appraisal for the ventriloquist character. They said, "It is a quality made piece that would be fit for a museum."

Parker finished his interview with a phone call to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and you would swear it was an actual call to the President's voice coming from the phone (in this case from his hand

He is a collector and has a significant amount of memorabilia from the spy show, "THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.", the TV series from 1964-68. He also collects railroad memorabilia.

His favorite vacations have been to New York City,Washington, D.C. and Chicago with their most enjoyable one Maui in Hawaii.

His favorite quote is: "It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice."