Joy Parker, a station relations and web coordinator for WXXI in Rochester, N.Y., died July 12 after a years-long battle with ALS. She was 43.
Parker joined the TV station in 1996 as an operations technician. In 2002 she was promoted to segment producer on programs such as Need to Know and Assignment: The World, and she worked as an associate producer on the local documentary Crucible of Freedom.
“She always brought a lot of energy to her projects,” said Marion French, WXXI’s v.p. of education and interactive services and Parker’s supervisor.
In her role, Parker worked on station initiatives including its web and social media presence, e-newsletters, and liaising with statewide pubTV stations for the program Homework Hotline. After she was diagnosed with ALS in 2010, she continued working for the station remotely until her death.
“People were so impressed with how she was still so dedicated to her work when she was facing the challenges of ALS,” French said.
In her last months, Parker helped raise funds for local medical charities. Her video for Art for Freedom, a global art contest curated by Vice and Madonna, won a $10,000 grant. A Madonna fan since childhood, Parker expressed her excitement at winning the contest on her blog.
“Never mind the grant money — I couldn’t get past that someone WATCHED that video,” Parker wrote. “Not only that, but my teen idol had WATCHED it!”
"Although we are deeply saddened by her passing, we will remember Joy for her love of life and family, for her passion for her work, and for the example she set in fighting this devastating disease," said Norm Silverstein, president of WXXI, in a statement.
Parker is survived by her husband, Mike Champlin, and daughters Katherine and Nicole.