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Jimmy Parker, who passed away in September 2011, was one of the wiki's earliest and finest contributors. In 1963, Jimmy began a career with the Genealogy Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, culminating in his position as Manager of the Family History Library before his retirement in 1999. He was a well-respected genealogist, having researched, published and extensively lectured in the genealogical field. When Jimmy first heard about the wiki, the idea immediately resonated with him. He said he had three file cabinets of genealogical information at home that he'd always wanted to publish, and the wiki would be his solution. He said he could leave his legacy here. He has certainly done that.
Jimmy's main wikiprojects focused on American Indians and Idaho research. As a leader, he was inspiring, visionary, patient, and humorously self-effacing. When it was neccessary to redirect people, Jimmy did it in a way that left the reciever welcoming his continued input. In community meetings Jimmy championed ideas based on their merit rather than the position or rank of their proponents. He never had to be in charge, but when he saw a gap that needed filling, he would jump in, lead by example, and call others to action. Like all good leaders, he also knew when to follow. A good organizer, he could break down large projects into well-defined tasks that even a rookie could do, and he had a knack for teaching and motivating people.
As a contributor, Jimmy had a strong understanding of the wiki's purpose, scope, and potential to involve groups of people in a common cause. Although he was a top-ten contributor with over 15,000 edits, his reach as a leader of wikiprojects was much, much greater. Within the projects Jimmy led, 49 community members contributed 2,670 pages with 35,792 edits and 140 million characters. His friendship, vision, and leadership will be sorely missed, and the members of this community are better people for having known him.
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