Mike Parker 1929-2014

Mike Parker, my mentor, company mate and friend passed away last night in a care facility for the aging in New England.

The emotional crushing that a death always seems to bring, fades, we rejoin the living and carry on as we often say the dead would wish. But, while a preponderance of my thoughts will remain with Mike for a while, Mike and Mike’s thoughts have been with me ever single day now for decades. To say “we” would not be who we are today without him, might seem presumptuous, but I know that I would not be who I am today without Mike Parker, along side whom I was most fortunate to have worked and lived.

Thank you Mike.


  • Kent Lew
    Kent Lew Posts: 906
    Rest in peace, Mike Parker.

    I am honored to have known and worked with Mike for the handful of years I did. We will all miss him.
  • Santiago Orozco
    This is very sad, it’s such a big loss for the type community.

  • William Berkson
    My sympathies, David. I only talked with Mike a few times, but he just radiated joy, decency, and a lively mind. Memorable even for those of us who did not know him well.
  • Chris Lozos
    Chris Lozos Posts: 1,458
    Rest in peace Mike. Thanks for giving typography your years, good counsel, and humor.
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  • James Puckett
    There are a lot of people standing on Mike’s shoulders. RIP.
  • Nick Shinn
    Nick Shinn Posts: 2,160
    My condolences to those who knew him.
  • Mark Simonson
    I didn't know him very well at all, but I remember the first time I met him, at TypeCon 2004 in San Francisco. It never would have happened except we were in an elevator together and he just up and introduced himself. Left a big impression.

    RIP, Mike Parker.
  • Stephen Coles
    It feels like Mike Parker lived the life of ten men. Or more. I am always learning more about what he did and who he influenced and what we would not have without his impact. And I am sure that will continue long after his death.
  • Jason Campbell
    My condolences to those who were close to him. I didn't really know him, but was honored to meet him at TypeCons.
  • Tamye Riggs
    I am deeply sorry for your loss, David. I know how much Mike meant to you, and you to him. I grieve for Harry's loss. On the opposite side, I treasure the time I was lucky enough to spend with Mike. He was one of the greatest men I've ever known—a nurturer so often forsaking his own gifts so those he loved might shine even brighter. He had the tender ability to laugh in the face of the worst times. I will always remember his tremendous humor and great warmth. No one smiled, no one laughed like he did. He was a force of nature of the very best kind. Rest in peace, Mike. Cheers to you.
  • Alex Kaczun
    David, thank you for posting the news. Santiago, thank you for posting the TDC video—Mike Parker talking about “Type as my Life”… I loved watching it. A fitting eulogy to a man who influenced so many of us.

    Mike Parker will be missed by all who knew him. I celebrate his life and his never-ending passion for this great type industry that he loved so much.

    No other person will ever be able to fill his shoes. Mike Parker was someone who ignited a passion in all those who knew him. I would not have been a type designer, if it wasn't for Mike Parker. I'm sure many others would say the same thing. His enthusiasm for anything relating to type was additive. His legacy is the great Linotype Font Library that he directed and the world’s first digital font library at Bitstream that he created. Mike was a walking-talking encyclopedia on everything relating to typography. As I can attest to, he never stopped talking “type” on the entire 7-hour car trip to RIT for a lecture. And, then he quizzed me on the way back—just to make sure I was listening. I was always in “awe” of the man and everything that he accomplished in his long and illustrious career.

    As an aside, I’d like to relate a little story about Mike Parker—about the grounded and kind person that he was. It was in the very early days of Bitstream—a few of us where leaving work one evening. Richard Stetler wasn’t able to start his car. Mike was leaving at about the same time, saw the situation and before anyone could say anything, Mike was under the hood and under the car, trying to resolve the problem. Mike “jiggled this” and “jiggled that” and got the car started. Then, he quickly got up, said “cheers”, and was off to a meeting somewhere—with smudges on his hands and face. But, that’s the kind of guy he was. All in a days work. I can’t seem to put that incident out of my mind. Mike Parker was a remarkable man. Mike wasn’t just a boss—he was a good friend. Never too busy to help someone out.

    So, here is to you, Mr. Mike Parker—I toast to your many great successes, accomplishments and to the rich typographic legacy you leave behind for all the rest of us to enjoy.

    I can’t help but feel that Mike Parker is still talking type history and bending all the angels’ ears above. Cheers, Mike.
  • Craig Eliason
    Craig Eliason Posts: 1,413
    That was really great. Thanks Font Bureau folks for putting it together.
  • André Simard
    This Font Bureau's tribute to Mr. Parker is really well done. Thanks!