LIMA — World-famous fisherman Hank Parker spoke to a crowd of about 120 people at the UNOH Event Center Friday about growing up in a troubled family before becoming a successful fisherman.
Parker’s father was what he described as a “drunk,” which ultimately led to his mother moving out and leaving him to live with his father. After several years, his father went to church one day.
“He left at 11 a.m. a drunk and came home at 1 p.m. a saint,” Parker said of his father. “I noticed a change right away.”
Parker’s mother eventually came back. While the change in his father was welcome, the change also spurred his father to encourage him to become a Christian.
“I was still too proud to admit that I needed Jesus Christ,” Parker said. “The last thing my father said, he would gladly give his life to save my life.”
That same day, his father was killed in an automobile accident. Parker said he then remembered all the talks he had with his father. Parker said he was saved at his father’s funeral.
Parker spoke of his success on the fishing tour, saying his success has been a blessing from God. He said while he had already became successful on the professional fishing circuit, that he didn’t have true happiness until becoming Christian. He now couples his faith with his professional career.
Parker jokes that he enjoyed being a professional fisherman because “now I don’t have to be a real job.” He hasn’t let his success go to his head and now uses his notoriety to draw people to Christianity.
“What I am doing here is 10 million, million times as important than what I do for a living,” Parker said.”I never have looked at myself as a celebrity. You don’t want to gain the world but lose your soul.”
n 1979 and again in 1989, the North Carolina native won the Bassmaster Classic, the biggest event in the sport of bass fishing. He also was the first angler to win the Grand Slam of competitive bass fishing which includes the Classic, B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year and B.A.S.S. SuperBass Tournament.
Parker has hosted the television show “Hank Parker’s Outdoor Magazine” since 1985. Notable show guests have included Larry Bird, Bo Jackson and Tony Dungy, among others.
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