STAFFORD, NJ - Stafford Township area family and friends are mourning the sudden passing of Parker Nork, who was only 9 years old. Parker died on Saturday morning from leukemia. He was first diagnosed three weeks ago and his outlook was promising for recovery.
However, life is never certain as we have learned all too often. On Friday Parker became ill and was taken to Children's Hospital in Philadelphia. He died on Saturday morning with his family by his side.
On Sunday evening a few thousand people gathered to pay tribute to this wonderful young man. Family, friends, neighbors, teammates, coaches, schoolmates, teachers and community members came together at the Pop Warner Football Stadium on Doc Cramer Blvd. It was both a vigil and a celebration of a wonderful life gone way too soon.
Sign Up for E-News
Parker's family sat on the bleachers while the crowd stood on the darkened football with the illumination of candles shining brightly. Everyone came together to support the family and to look back and remember all the fun and good times shared with Parker.
"Parker was truly one of a kind and will be greatly missed by all that were fortunate of meeting him," wrote Kelly Nardelli-Karol. "He had a heart of gold with a ton of fight in him."
The Southern Regional Ice Hockey team made it a point to visit Parker only 10 days ago. They presented him with a jersey and signed hockey stick. Parker was a goal for the Toms River Blackhawks travel hockey squad. Parker also played AYF football and lacrosse. Below is article about the hockey team's visit with Parker.
Monsignor Ken Tuzeneu from St. Mary's parish opened the evening in prayer. These were significant words of hope for those in mourning.
"We put our hope in God alone. In whom comes our hope. God alone is my rock and my salvation. My fortress, I shall not fail. My deliverance and honor are with God, My strong Rock, my refuge is with God. Trust God at all times my people. Pour out your hearts to God, our refuge. And so God we put our hope in You on this night of vigil and remembrance of our dear friend, our son Parker. We do not understand his early passing. We lift up his family in a special way. We know that you have a very special place for Parker in heaven. Take care of him, take care of us until we meet again."
A number of people spoke after Monsignor Tuzeneu in the 20 minute gathering. Those speakers included Stafford Superintendent of Schools George Chidiac, Lauren Genelia (neighbor) and Parker's coaches Rafael Torres, Bryan Scherlin and Sean Griffin.
Pete Nork, Parker's dad shared some brief comments and expressed his appreciation for the love of those who attended the vigil. The weather was cold but there was a lot of warm love in the stadium. The Stafford community again gathered to show their love for their neighbors.