Alison Parker and Adam Ward obituaries RIP


Alison Bailey Parker, loved by everyone who knew her, was taken from us at the age of 24 on August 26, 2015. Born in Annapolis, MD, Alison grew up in Collinsville, Virginia and graduated from Martinsville High School in 2009. Her many accomplishments included Piedmont District Swimmer of the Year award, Big M Trophy recipient, and a member of the jazz and concert bands where she played both trumpet and French horn. As a student at the Piedmont Governors School for Math, Science and Technology, she was a member of the award winning robotics team. Alison was a gymnast, a beautiful dancer, and when kayaking with her family she grew to love the beauty of the rivers around us.

She was accepted into the James Madison University School of Media Arts and Design, and was a news editor at the Breeze, a member of Alpha Phi Sorority, and was a tutor of freshmen calculus students. During her college summers she was a New College Institute intern for The United Way and MURA in Martinsville, and at WDBJ7 in Roanoke, Virginia. She graduated from JMU in 2012 and joined the news team at WCTI12 in North Carolina as the Jacksonville bureau chief, covering Camp Lejeune and the surrounding area, where she relished the tough schedule and hard news. Alison was recruited to return to WDBJ7 in Roanoke as the Mornin’ Reporter last year, and she greeted viewers each weekday morning with a smile and her bubbly personality, hoping to make their day a little brighter. She loved her job and had such a bright future ahead in the field of journalism, but still found time to support her community. She was rehearsing to be a contestant in the Valley Stars benefit for the Salvation Army of Roanoke Turning Point, the only secure center in the Roanoke Valley for adult survivors and their children who are in imminent danger from family and intimate partner violence. She will be missed by everyone she touched, and she lived life to the fullest in her short time on earth.

She is survived by the love of her life, Chris L. Hurst of Roanoke, VA; her parents, Andy and Barbara Parker of Collinsville; brother Drew Parker of Mt. Airy, NC; grandmothers Frances Bailey of Denison, TX and Gloria Parker of Austin, TX; aunts Lisa Foster of Sherman, TX, Kristin Bailey Murphy of Hollywood, CA, and Jane Ann Parker of Austin, TX; and cousins Kristin and Caitlin Miller of Dallas, TX, Meredith Foster of Georgetown, TX, and Jonas and Makenna Parker of Austin, TX; and countless special friends like Sasha, Katie, and Georgina. She especially loved Jack and Sophie, the best dogs ever.

A celebration of Alison’s life will be held at a later date after a private memorial service. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the following scholarship funds or charitable organizations:

JMU Scholarship Alison B Parker Memorial Fund

Donations for the Alison B Parker Memorial Fund can be made online at the link above or checks for the Alison Parker Memorial Scholarship can be made payable to the JMU Foundation.

JMU Advancement Gifts and Records

MSC 3603

Harrisonburg, VA 22807

ATTN: Alison Parker Memorial Scholarship

Patrick Henry Community College Alison Bailey Parker Scholarship
Donations for the Alison Bailey Parker Memorial Scholarship can be made online at the link above or by cash or check to the Patrick Henry Community College Foundation, 645 Patriot Avenue, Martinsville, VA 24112. For additional information, call (276) 656-0250.

Valley Stars and Salvation Army of Roanoke

As mentioned, Alison was rehearsing to be a contestant in the Valley Stars benefit for the Salvation Army of Roanoke Turning Point. To donate to the Valley Stars and Salvation Army of Roanoke in Alison’s name, visit the link above and scroll down until you see Alison’s red kettle.


Adam Ward was tragically taken from this world on August 26, 2015. He was a bright light in our lives for 27 wonderful years.

Adam was born on May 10, 1988 to Charles “Buddy” and Mary Lou Speas Ward of Daleville, VA. Although he grew up in Botetourt with his sister and brother, Sarah and Jay, he was truly a Salem Spartan, born and bred. From childhood, he loved Salem sports, especially football, and joined his father, a guidance counselor at Salem High School, as a 7th grader in the school system. After high school, he fulfilled another dream by becoming a proud member of the Hokie Nation. Adam was the one with the painted chest in 20 degree weather screaming the loudest from the end zone. While at Tech, he discovered a passion for journalism and interned on the Greg Roberts Radio Show and at WDBJ-7, which eventually led to a full-time role post-graduation. It was there that he met his fiance’ and the love of his life, Melissa Ott of Gibbstown, New Jersey. They were together for a little over two years and were planning to get married in July 2016.

Adam was known throughout the Roanoke Valley as a loyal and giving friend, a champion for the underdog, and someone who lived every day to the fullest. Everyone who met him instantly loved him. We’ll always remember his smile and laughter.

He is preceded in death by his beloved grandparents, who we know are spoiling him rotten right now.

He is survived by his loving father and mother, Buddy and Mary Ward; sister and brother-in-law, Sarah and Dave Crowder; brother, Jay Ward; fiancé, Melissa Ott; and niece, Olivia, or “tater tot” as her uncle Adam affectionately called her. He is also survived by numerous uncles and aunts, cousins, and a host of friends he considered family.

A celebration of Adam’s life will be held 11:00 AM, Tuesday, September 1 at First Baptist Church in Roanoke, 515 3rd Street SW, Roanoke with Pastor Rob Lough officiating. A private committal service will follow at Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens. Adam’s family will receive friends Monday, August 31 at Salem High School Auditorium, 400 Spartan Drive, Salem from 2-8 PM. We encourage everyone to wear their colors and show their Spartan and Hokie pride.

In lieu of flowers, we request donations be made to two scholarships set up in Adam’s name: Salem Education Foundation and Alumni Association, P.O Box 1461, Salem, VA, 24153; or to the Adam L. Ward Scholarship at Virginia Tech through WDBJ-7, 2807 Hershberger Road, NW, Roanoke, VA 24017.

On-line condolences may be made to the family at


About Jerry Frey

Born 1953. Vietnam Veteran. Graduated Ohio State 1980. Have 5 published books. In the Woods Before Dawn; Grandpa's Gone; Longstreet's Assault; Pioneer of Salvation; Three Quarter Cadillac
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