Donna Parker, former Fort Worth Chamber executive, transit leader, dies

Donna Rose Parker, 75, former Fort Worth Chamber executive vice president and a retired transportation consultant, died Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019.

Parker had over 50 years of experience in executive and organizational management in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area that also involved the North Texas Commission and the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.

She served in workforce development consulting roles with the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C.; conducted workshops at Cornell University (NY), for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. She is a founder of the Automation and Robotics Research Institute (University of Texas-Arlington-Fort Worth campus) and founder of the successful, award-winning program, “C3 – Corporations, Classrooms & Communities”, a private/public partnership for education enhancement for the Fort Worth Independent School District.

She was born Sept. 11, 1944, to the late Donald Dwight Steinman Sr. and Rose Katherine Milan Steinman in Fort Worth. She was in the first graduating class of Boswell High School and went to North Texas State University on a gymnastics scholarship. There, she met her husband, Jerry. Parker began her career as a teacher in the Eagle Mountain Saginaw School District. She then had a very successful banking career in Fort Worth for nine years. She worked as an executive vice president at the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce focusing on transportation, aviation and education initiatives. Parker received two gubernatorial appointments from then Gov. George W. Bush. She served as the vice chairman of the North Texas Tollway Authority and worked to see the SH121 expansion to see its completion. She retired from Jacobs Engineering as a transportation consultant. She served on the Fort Worth Sports Authority. In that role, she was instrumental in bringing the Texas Motor Speedway to Fort Worth.

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She received recognition as one of the United States’ Most Influential Women in Transportation. In 1997, she was named one of Tarrant County’s Most Influential Women by the Fort Worth Business Press and received the City of Fort Worth’s 1997 award for the Outstanding Woman in the Workplace.

Visitation: Thursday, November 21 from 6 to 8pm at Greenwood in Fort Worth

Funeral: Friday, November 22 at 1pm at White’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Southlake; Graveside after the funeral at Greenwood in Fort Worth.