‘I don’t wanna die, Miss Bea’

Rockingham woman grants wishes to sick, dying

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

ROCKINGHAM — Beatrice (nee Biggs) Parker is broke. Always has been.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Beatrice Biggs Parker tells of the first person she ever tried to help. In the 1980s, a young girl in church suffered from a tumor that, four days after meeting Kenny Rogers, caused her permanent blindness.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Beatrice Biggs Parker tells of the first person she ever tried to help. In the 1980s, a young girl in church suffered from a tumor that, four days after meeting Kenny Rogers, caused her permanent blindness.

When she began helping others fulfill their dreams in the 1980s, Parker was homeless. As she sang in her church choir, Parker said she spotted a young girl with an abnormality around one of her eyes. After the service, Parker found the girl’s mother, who explained that the child had a tumor.

With not background in entertainment, counseling — or anything else but life itself — Parker leaned forward and asked the girl what she wanted most. To meet Kenny Rogers, she said.

“I picked up the phone and called,” Parker recalled.

Within two weeks, Parker escorted the girl as they flew to a Kenny Rogers performance in Landover, Md. The trip was paid for by Rogers’ people.

“I prayed all the way there and all the way back,” Parker said. “I got up to the top step and said ‘God, if you can’t get in her with me, I’m not going.'”

There’s a photo of the girl with Rogers in a small room off the foyer of Parker’s single-story rancher off Highway Business 74. The trip went as smooth as anyone could expect. God is always with her, Parker said, and one way or another puts Parker in a place to meet people in need.

Clint Eastwood — “he’s nice,” Parker said — Bill and Hillary Clinton, Michael Jordan — not so perfect, Parker insisted — Randy Travis, Vince Gill, Carolina Panthers football players, Mark Martin, Richard Petty … the room is a smorgasbord of “Who’s Who” over the past three decades. All of them contain images of people who have helped Parker help others get their wishes granted. Many of the photographs are autographed and include a personal message to Parker, one of thanks for her work.

Four days after the young girl’s visit with Rogers, she permanently lost her sight.

“I’m really nobody”

Parker genuinely believes she’s simply the vessel through which God helps make life a little bit better for the sick or the dying, even if only for short periods of time. But her efforts have been noted by numerous politicians on the local, state and federal levels, including two North Carolina governors’ awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service (1987, 2003).

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Beatrice Parker's small room is filled with autographed pictures of celebrities that have helped her help others fulfill their wishes.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Beatrice Parker’s small room is filled with autographed pictures of celebrities that have helped her help others fulfill their wishes.

One night, she and a friend drove separate vehicles but met in Moore County for dinner. On the way home — around 11:30 p.m. — Parker said she saw a man laying in the middle of the road. Dead or unconsciousness, she wasn’t sure. She had to stop. The friend cautioned against it, Parker said, and continued home.

“I touched him on his shoulder,” Parker said. “He raised his head up.”

He needed medical attention. Out of nowhere, Parker said, a 9-year-old boy appeared. She urged him to run to the nearest telephone and call 911. Police officers arrived. One of them knew Parker. The officer chastised Parker for being in the middle of nowhere, alone, so late at night.

“Bea, you know better than that,” he said.

Parker proceeded to travel with the man to the hospital.

Getting older

 Parker is 76 years old. People tell her she ought to slow down. Rest. Take a break from caring for her dying husband — his lungs are failing, she said — and from mowing the lawn and keeping up the house.

“When you’re getting older, you speed up,” Parker responds to naysayers. “I’m a people person.

Parker is, admittedly, not a rich person. Or well-off. Or even upper middle class. She simply seems to bump into someone in need and then tries to find a way to help. One day that happened in a grocery store. Parker put her arm around a stranger.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

The woman pulled back.

“What’d you do that for,” she asked.

Parker replied that it looked like the woman could use a hug.

“Sometimes, a kind word …,” Parker explained.

The woman smiled and accepted the embrace. She noted that there aren’t many people like Parker anymore.

“I’m always looking and listening” for someone to help, Parker said. “I ask, can I do something for you?”

Parker has had what one might call a regionally nomadic life. A Rockingham native, she’s lived in Charlotte and across North Carolina. The first girl she tried to help by taking her to see Kenny Rogers was in Robeson County. She graduated from Hamlet High School in 1957. She worked as a prison guard for about seven years.

Whatever she does now is done only with a blind faith in her God.

“I do what God tells me to do,” Parker said. “I’m going to do as long as I can do.”

‘A sad, sad story’

 Scooter was 9 years old when he came into Parker’s life. He lived in Gasonia. He was dying, the boy’s mother said. The mother called Parker. Scooter wanted to meet Tim Biakabutuka, a running back for the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers graciously hosted Scooter’s visit and granted more than just meeting Biakabutuka.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com A letter from former President George W. Bush in 2002.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
A letter from former President George W. Bush in 2002.

Scooter went home happy; wish fulfilled. Parker figured she’d never hear from him again. Then the phone rang.

“Miss Bea,” the mother said, “you need to get over here.”

It is, Parker said, “a part of my business I really dread. I don’t like to see people die.”

But Parker traveled to the boy’s home. While Scooter’s nurse maintained a constant presence, Parker entered his room.

“I went over and hugged him, told him I loved him,” Parker said. “I said, ‘God loves you, too.'”

Parker didn’t know what to expect. What happened wasn’t what she needed to see or hear. Scooter, frail, sat up suddenly.

“I don’t wanna die, Momma!”

Hugs and gentle words by all present went to reassure Scooter.

“I love you, Miss Bea,” Scooter said.

The boy smiled. Then went to sleep one last time.

“My business”

Parker doesn’t make a penny off of what she does, but she refers to her mission in life as her “business.” It’s much more than an ordinary job.

“That’s what I’m here for,” Parker said. “How else could I pick up and do what I do? I was homeless when I started my business. I had to walk where I needed to go.”

And as she reflects upon her life and of those she has touched, through faith, she has a message for others. Be involved in life. Don’t ever pass a stranger. Take the time to make eye contact. Say hello. Smile.

“People need to get up,” she said.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Clint Eastwood, says Beatrice Parker, is a class act.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Clint Eastwood, says Beatrice Parker, is a class act.

 

 

 

Filed in: Featured News, Latest Headlines, News

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  • JD

    GREAT STORY!!!! We need more people like Ms. Parker who are willing to reach out and help a friend, a neighbor, or just a stranger! I have no doubt when she reaches the “pearly gates” there will be a sea of people she has touched in some simple way. Again, a fantastic story about how we should all treat one another!!!

  • Lisa Fore

    Who owns this paper??? If you are removing replies and/or comments people are making simply because YOU do not agree..and I personally KNOW that you have, then you should not even be involved in the news PERIOD!!! How dare you??

  • Teri Duncan

    THINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS WHAT THEY SEEM TO BE.
    THE PEOPLE OF THE POST NEED TO DO A MORE INDEPT BACKGROUND CHECK
    ON THE PEOPLE THEY DO THEIR ARTICLES ON.

  • janice hinson

    I know this lady personally and she sure isnt what this news reporter has printed in black in white about her. She is nowhere this nice. In fact, I dont believe a word she has told you Kevin. You didnt find her strange and felt any uneasiness while interviewing her? She didnt make the hair on the back of your neck stand up? Teri is right on about doing a more in depth research on the ones you interview. No wonder a reporter says they cant reveal their resources HA!

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