A Memorable Thursday in West LA

After learning about Mr. Parker's passing a few of us were gathered together at Jeff Speakman’s apartment, trying to figure things out. We decided to meet at the West Los Angeles School Thursday night as always for Mr. Parker’s Brown and Black Belt classes. So many people showed up but no one put on a gi. It was wall to wall students and friends of Mr. Parker. We talked about the funeral that was to be the next Saturday in Pasadena. A lot of people tried to talk about Mr. Parker but it was too hard for most of us to get the words out. Then Randy Streeter wanted to say something and Brian Hawkins and I got on each side of Randy because if you know Randy, you never know what he is going to say or how he is going to say it. Randy started to talk, like we have never heard him talk before, he spoke of how Mr. Parker took him in when he had no money and no place to live. Randy said he just wanted to learn Kenpo Karate. Mr. Parker let him workout in the Pasadena school and slept there when needed. Randy said, “I couldn’t read or write, but Mr. Parker didn’t care about that, at all. I sincerely wanted to learn and he was going to help me. He saved my life and he made my life. I will never forget him or stop loving him because he loved me first. No one ever did that for me. I will miss him forever and ever”. Brian and I just looked at each other and wiped the tears from our cheeks and gave Randy that Kenpo bear hug, that he deserved so much. Randy taught all of us something that night. There was not a dry eye in the school. That last Thursday night, My God, we miss you and love you, Mr. Parker.

Written by

Jack Autry lives in Los Angeles, California. He is the father of 5 children: Jack Jr., Dan, Tammi, Anthony and Angelo. Jack received his black belt from Ed Parker. He currently holds the rank of 8th degree black belt and has been a practitioner in Kenpo for over 45 years.


  1. Robert Shadpour says:

    Well Jack. How Randy touched your heart is how you touched mine by sharing his story.  Thank you and I will keep on reading your articles. Robert.