First director of Fort Museum dies
Dave Parker served from 1981 to 2005
Dave Parker, who served as the executive director of the Fort Museum and Frontier Village from 1981 to 2005, died Sunday in Missouri. He was 69.
He was the first person to be the executive director at the local museum, overseeing all aspects of its operation.
He worked with John Edens and the late Dr. Bill Ryan to organize the annual Frontier Days celebration in Fort Dodge.
“Those three were the three that put on most of the Frontier Days celebrations,” said Dr. Mike Bottorff, a former member of the Fort Museum and Frontier Village board.
Bottorff described Parker as very involved with the Fort Dodge Dragoons, a military style group that promoted the museum and Frontier Days.
The Opera House, a popular place for gatherings and special events, was built during his tenure as executive director. It opened in 1996.
He was a native of Dike who spent several years touring as a musician with the band Dahcotah before settling in Fort Dodge. Music continued to be part of his life in Fort Dodge, where he played fiddle, mandolin, and percussion in the Frontier Fiddle Band.
“Dave was a very personable guy, a talented guy,” said Al Nelson, who succeeded him as executive director of the museum.
Parker left Fort Dodge to oversee the Titanic Museum Attraction in Branson, Missouri. There, his title was captain and he wore a ship captain’s uniform at work.