Melvin Alton Parker Jr. was born April 18, 1928 to Alice and Melvin Parker Sr., in Beaumont. He died Nov. 25, 2022 at the age of 94. Melvin was a resident of El Campo for 68 years. He worked in the rice industry, first as the manager of the Rice Marketing Association office, and then as a Founding Director, President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of Rice Belt Warehouse, Inc. He spearheaded this business from its beginnings to a multi-million-dollar company with plants in El Campo, Bay City, Ganado, Edna, Blessing, Markham, Louise, Alvin, Rosharon and Houston at various times. Rice Belt and its employees were a pure joy and labor of love for Melvin.
Melvin received the highest award for his lifelong civic involvement when he was named the El Campo Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year in 1989. He was a proud Rotarian for 55 years. He was also involved with the Jaycees, Wharton County 100 Club, Elks Lodge, Masonic Lodge, Chamber of Commerce, and was a member of First United Methodist Church. When the decision was made to close Nightingale Hospital, Melvin was chosen to be a member of the board of El Campo Memorial Hospital. He served on the board from 1975-1989 and as President of the board from 1975-1981.