ZANE TAYLOR PARKER
November 3, 1947 – May 30, 1994
Zane was born in California to Zachary Taylor Parker (1909-1986) and Genieva Grace Sanders Parker (1925-2002) in Hawthorne, California
Zane and his beautiful wife to be Susan both graduated from Hemet Union High School in June, 1966. Zane volunteered for the U.S. Army on November 1, 1966.
In July of 1968, while in the military, he married his high school sweetheart Susan Ann Minor Parker (1948-2011). Susan was the daughter of Jim and Jesse Minor of Helmet, CA. The couple had four children: Son Zane Taylor Parker Jr.; daughter Heidi Parker Hughes who married William Hughes of Hemet; daughter Heather Parker Piombo who married Daniel Piombo of San Rafael, CA; and Molly Parker DeVries who married Robert DeVries of Denver, CO. They were blessed to have seven grandchildren – Austin, Zayna, Kortney, Owen, Parker, Laurel, and Anna – and one great grandchild Riley. Zane was honorably discharged on August 28, 1969 earning his Combat Infantryman’s Badge and numerous other awards and decorations.
Zane and Susan managed a cattle ranch in Billings, MT until 1994 when Zane’s life was claimed in one of life’s great ironies, a helicopter crash. On the 29th of May 1994, Zane was piloting a RotorWay Exec 90 Helicopter in Fallbrook, CA. Zane was in the preliminary stages of learning to fly this machine. He was the only occupant of the aircraft. His instructor advised the NTSB that he had been given only one introductory lesson in Auto-rotation. Zane did not have a rotorcraft rating and had but 24 hrs. duel (pilot/instructor) training in the craft since February. Zane was endorsed by the instructor for limited hovering solo flights. Witnesses said Zane made several low passes at an altitude of about 200’, then departed the area and flew up a canyon at low altitude. The helicopter then descended rapidly to the ground and contacted a tree during the descent. It was determined the helicopter ran out of fuel. NTSB found improper autorotation due to inadequate transition/upgrade training and the pilot’s lack of familiarity with helicopters.
Zane Taylor Parker died from his crash injuries in San Diego, CA. at age 46. In the end, gravity did what 100,000 NVA couldn’t do. To his grave, this warrior takes the respect and gratitude of the men who served with him. His beloved wife, Susan, was taken by Cancer in 2011. Zane and Susan rest together in San Jacinto Valley Cemetery, San Jacinto, California