by Thom Van Vleck
In the 60’s my Uncle Phil was stationed in Alabama while in the Air Force and got to meet a lot of top lifters and bodybuilders of that era. One in particular that he became friends with was Billy Parker. Billy had a brother Randy and they often frequented Karo Whitfield’s gym. My Uncle Phil, when he was not doing Air Force work, would do personal training and that’s how he met the Parker Brothers. They often came over for back yard BBQ’s and outdoor workout sessions.
Phil told me that the Parker’s came from Southern money. They had a trust fund that allowed them to do whatever they wanted and not have to work. So they decided to become professional bodybuilders and trainers and had their own “health club” as gyms were often called in that day, the Bel Aire Health Club (Phil thinks it was named for the shopping center it was located, the “Bel Aire Shopping Center”) . Plus, they enjoyed being young and rich! Phil said that Billy had a brand new thunderbird convertible and they would often cruise the streets of Atlanta looking for fun.
Phil said that what he liked most about Billy was he was drug free at a time when steroids was becoming commonplace. It could also be why you never heard of Billy after that as that era was dominated by drugged up bodybuilders. In 1964, Billy was 9th in the AAU Junior Mr. America and 6th in the Mr. USA. In 1965 he was 15th in the Mr. USA. In 1966 he was 15th in the Mr. America and was again mentioned for his posing ability and muscle control. Phil said when he knew him in 1966 he had won over 70 bodybuilding trophies in regional meets in the south.
Phil said he was a he was a master poser and muscle control artist, having learned from Mr. America Harry Johnson. In that 1965 contest he was listed as one of the top three posers in that contest. Billy was not a big man, he was small boned and short, but he made the most of what he had! Phil lost touch with him and Randy over the years and I’m currently trying to locate him so if you know where he’s at, let me know!