Larger than life, kind, and pleasantly eccentric – Sheffield Newspapers’ former picture editor Harry Parker was a character few will forget.
Harry, who has died aged 89, has been remembered fondly by his old colleagues who recall a man with an interest in medicine and expertise in lead mining and who was always recognisable throughout the city.
As picture editor, he oversaw a team of photographers working for The Star and former paper the Sheffield Morning Telegraph, as well as a commercial department.
Alan Powell, former The Star editor, worked with Harry until his retirement when the Telegraph closed in 1986.
He said: “He was just one of Sheffield’s characters.
“There were his eccentricities, but they were the sort that people would enjoy – he was larger than life.
“He was a big man, so his character was as big as his frame really.
“Apart from anything else, he was also an extremely good photographer, who ran the department for a long time.
“He was well known throughout the city and well respected.”
Harry had a passion for first aid – which once saw him lance a colleague’s walking blisters in the office.
He also talked often of his time with the Royal Military Police during World War Two, where as a captain he saw executions of Japanese war criminals.
And he was involved in lead mining, potholing and mining heritage in the Peak District.
Current Star photographers Stuart Hastings and Barry Richardson were both hired by Harry.
Stuart, now chief photographer, said: “He employed me in 1968 for the Telegraph and, when I asked him why, he said I was the only one who had included a picture of myself in the application.
“He was a lovely man. He kept his incisive humour right up until the last time I saw him.”
Barry said: “He didn’t suffer fools gladly. He was of the old school, firm but fair.
“I remember he tried to charm the girls, buying the secretaries sweets and treats, but he was avuncular – he would be like a father figure to everybody.”
Harry’s late wife Wynne also worked for The Star and he had previously worked for the Hull Daily Mail.
Photographer Dennis Lound, who left The Star four years ago, said: “He was quite a character, a nice fellow. “He was helpful and encouraging to his staff – if you did something right you certainly got praise from him.”
The funeral is at Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium tomorrow, at 10.30am, followed by a service at Nether Green Methodist Church.