The third of three men who founded a restaurant in Wilson that became a stop for barbecue lovers across the country has died at the age of 89.
Family members said Ralph Parker died Thursday of kidney failure.
Parker founded Parker's Barbecue in 1946, along with his brother, Graham, and Henry Parker Brewer. The three retired in 1986 and sold the business.
Co-owner Eric Lippard told the Wilson Daily Times that Parker's became known throughout the Southeast after Ralph Parker helped cook hundreds of hogs for an employee banquet at Purina Mills in Wilson in 1954. Lippard says neighbors helped dig a ditch to cook enough pork to feed 17,500 people.
Ralph Parker was the last surviving restaurant founder. His funeral is scheduled for Monday at Evergreen Memorial Park.