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Ruth Avery-Parker, race riot historian, dies
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Ruth Avery-Parker, race riot historian, dies

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Ruth (Sigler) Avery-Parker, a Tulsa Race Riot historian

and writer, died Oct. 29. She was 87.

A celebration service will begin at 4 p.m. Nov. 20 at

All Souls Unitarian Church.

Avery-Parker was born Sept. 18, 1914, in Tulsa. She

graduated from Central High School in 1932 and attended the

University of Tulsa before training in drug education at

Trinity University in San Antonio. She then began working

as a secretary for Dowell Oil Co.

Well-known in Tulsa for her early interest in the Tulsa

Race Riot of 1921, she spent a good part of her life

compiling personal accounts of it. Her interest was sparked

when, as a girl, she lived near Oaklawn Cemetery and was

said to have watched as the bodies of black riot victims

were taken there for burial.

She remained a local history buff and helped integrate

the Tulsa Historical Society, for which she was secretary

and co-chairwoman of the Oral History Committee.

Avery-Parker's poetry has been published in regional and

national anthologies, and she was a free-lance writer.

Her first husband, Leighton Avery, was the son of Cyrus

Avery, who became known as "The Father of Route 66" and

helped bring about Tulsa's water and road infrastructure. A

state highway commissioner, he also served as treasurer of

a relief fund for Tulsa's devastated Greenwood district

after the race riot.

Leighton Avery died in 1983, and Avery-Parker married

Harold Parker in 1988. He died the next year.

Avery-Parker had been the president of Beta Sigma Phi,

Tulsa Association of Pioneers and the Delphian Society. She

had been the treasurer of Tulsa Opera Inc., Tulsa Little

Theatre and the Magic Empire Council of Girl Scouts Inc.

and the chairwoman of the board of the Tulsa Drug Treatment

Center at Eastern State Hospital in Vinita.

She also served on the Oklahoma Narcotics and Drug Abuse

Council.

She is survived by two daughters, Sharon Fahlstom of

Barcelona, Spain, and Joy Balch of Tulsa; and a grandson.

Friends are contributing to the American Diabetes

Association or the Democratic Party.

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