The staff at Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. are incredibly saddened by the passing of Jeff Parker, MARTA CEO. Since Jeff took the helm of MARTA nearly four years ago, our leadership and transit experts worked closely with him, whether in large planning meetings or one-on-one weekly check-ins. We appreciate all that he poured into advancing world class transit in Atlanta.
His family and friends are in our thoughts, along with the strong team he built at MARTA. Atlanta has lost a great leader. Jeff will truly be missed.
Below, we share his family’s words from the Jeff Parker Memorial Fund website:
We lost our beloved father, Jeffrey Alan Parker, to suicide at 55 years old. Jeff was a husband, father, friend, leader, and son. Jeff is survived by his wife of 32 years, Erin; daughters, Gabrielle and Isabella; parents, Walter and Jean, and brother. He had a great love for music, travel, biking, coffee and the Patriots. He was strong, dedicated, kind and had a unique way to make everyone in the room laugh.
As a recognized national leader in transportation and transit, Jeffrey A. Parker had more than 35 years of experience in both the private and public sectors of the transportation industry, heading operations and expansion programs for several multimodal agencies. Parker was named General Manager/CEO of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) in March 2018. Parker held a wide range of leadership positions in transportation during his career, including serving as the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation under then-Governor Jodi Rell after serving as Deputy Commissioner for two years. Parker was previously employed at MARTA from 2005 to 2008 as the Senior Director of Transportation Operations.
Parker began his transportation career in 1985 with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) where he started as an intern and rose to oversee the agency’s extensive light and heavy rail lines. During his 20-year tenure at MBTA, he led various efforts to improve reliability, safety, security, and customer service for the nation’s oldest subway system.
Even with his many professional accomplishments, we believe his most important and loved job was being a father. He taught us how to ride a bike, drive a car, drink coffee, to laugh and gave us our love for music. He loved his family more than anything in the world and dedicated his life to giving us what we needed. My sister and I were raised to be strong, brave and independent women. He supported us to be that, even if it meant we challenged him frequently. He believed in us, he was proud of us, and he would do anything for us. He was always there to make us coffee, tuck us into bed, sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, or spend time with us. He genuinely loved spending time with us and would take as much as we would be willing to give him. His love for our mom was pure. Their relationship of almost 36 years was one of great love and unwavering support for one another. Together they loved to travel, explore new food, Sunday morning walks, and marathon shows together. They never had to be doing anything, just each other’s presence was enough. They were best friends. He was a goofball, our goofball, and we would do anything to hear one of his stupid jokes again. We will always miss him and we will always love him.
What drove him to this terrible decision, we can never fully know and as we continue to grieve, we want you to know that suicide is preventable and help is available to you. If you or someone you love is in crisis or experiencing suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.
Our family would like to thank everyone for the kindness and love they have shown us during one of the darkest times of our lives. Any donation to benefit the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, Georgia Chapter is greatly appreciated and will honor our Dad’s life. Please remember that suicide is never the answer and that you are loved greatly.