WATCH: Family, friends and colleagues gather to honor Nancy Parker

WATCH: Family, friends and colleagues gather to honor Nancy Parker
Nancy Parker, 53, worked at FOX 8 for 23 years. She was killed in a plane crash on Friday (Aug. 16) while shooting a story. (Source: WVUE)

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Family and friends gathered at Xavier University’s Convocation Center Friday to celebrate the life and legacy of FOX 8’s Nancy Parker. Several high-profile speakers shared their stories about Nancy and why so many found it easy to love her.

Former reporter and family friend Norman Robinson served as the Master of Ceremonies. He said the strong feelings that so many have for Nancy is a testament of how she lived every day of her life.

“She was just a one of a kind person and it’s the least I could do to pay honor and respect to her,” Robinson said ahead of the service. “I’m expecting to have everybody because as John Snell said, what you saw of Nancy on the set is what you saw of Nancy off the set.”

Archbishop Gregory Aymond began Friday’s service with blessings and words of encouragement for Nancy’s family and friends.

“We gather here on this sacred day to tell her story. May the story of Nancy’s life inspire us, each and every one of us, and invite every one of us to be the best that we can be, and be as faith-filled as she was,” Archbishop Aymond said.

Saints and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson spoke next about her long friendship with Parker.

“She touched so many lives with sincerity and a bright smile, one that will never be forgotten,” Benson said. "But it was her heart and love for our city and those that she covered that we all saw every day.

But Benson said it was her deep love for her family that truly defined who Nancy was as a person.

FOX 8 News Director Mikel Schaefer said the station's beloved news anchor embodied FOX 8.

“When she walked into the room, the newsroom, any room, it was an explosion of light and color. Ribbons and glitter. She was our multi-colored rainbow, and she held us inside of it,” Schaefer recalled. “Like a warm blanket on a cold Mid-City night, she was the light that guided us every single day. She nutured us. She led us. She schooled us. She loved us.”

He said Nancy connected with people like no one else. And that was a huge part of why she was such a gifted storyteller.

“Nancy’s passion for journalism was singular. She told the stories of ordinary people in the most extrordinary ways. She did it with grace, humility and style. That’s how she attacked life, pouring her heart into everything and everyone, and it showed because no one was better.”

John Snell, Nancy's longtime co-anchor on the FOX 8 news desk, joked, "Nancy Parker fell in love with Glynn Boyd, but she got stuck with me."

He recalled the special relationship they developed from working so closely together over the years. And he talked about the deep respect he had for Nancy’s strong work ethic, balancing her duties as a journalist, mother, and wife.

“The poor girl could not take a day off to be sick because she was the child of educators, and you did not skip school. She practically had to have a baby to take a sick day!”

The Soul Queen of New Orleans, Irma Thomas paid a musical tribute to Nancy, singing a rendition of “How Great Thou Art" that moved many in the crowd to stand and lift their hands in prayer.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell spoke directly to Nancy’s husband, Glynn Boyd, reminding him, “There is a community here for you, standing with you, ready to pour that love, all that we have, right into you. It matters, and you matter.”

Musician PJ Morton remembered with a grateful heart how Nancy was the first journalist to do an in-depth profile on him after he moved back to New Orleans about four years ago. And how excited she was for him in February when he won his first GRAMMY award for Best Traditional R&B Performance.

Nancy’s friend and sorority sister, Chynthia Butler-McIntyre, spoke on behalf of the entire Delta Sigma Theta sisterhood. She proclaimed how proud she was of Nancy’s story, and she passionately challenged the crowd to ask themselves, “When they rehash your life, will you be proud of your story?”

Finally, Nancy’s husband, Glynn Boyd, began his tribute to the love of his life. And he started with a song, “Three Times A Lady.”

“She is certainly three times a lady. I used to sing it to her all the time. She loved me more than I loved myself.”

Glynn thanked everyone for the outpouring of love and support he and his family have received since last week. The former television reporter shared how he and Nancy met covering a news story. He talked about their wedding day in Opelika, and how it was, "the best day of my life." And he talked about the moments they'll never get to share together, like watching their children grow into adults.

“I thought our love, our marriage, would live a lifetime. I really did. Last week, I was sucker punched. My heart was shattered into pieces. It just hit me - It’s gone... Thank God for loaning me this precious soul.”

Many people who knew Nancy felt a strong connection to her because of her personality and so many have reached out to FOX 8 to share their stories. Viewers have also continued to grow a memorial outside of the station.

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