Long-time Fort Wayne martial arts competitor and instructor Parker Shelton died Friday morning at the age of 72. He had been battling lung cancer for several months.
Besides being one of the top-ranked competitors in the world in judo and karate, Shelton also trained thousands of students. From 1972 to 1974 he was the nation's No. 1-ranked karate fighter and traveled to Europe and Japan and Korea for competitions. He also taught throughout the world after retiring as a fighter in 1978.
He came to Fort Wayne from St. Louis in 1965, and at one time owned four dojos in town. Originally from Pineville, Ky., Shelton was also the first president of the United States Karate Association.
He was preceded in death by his wife Jan in 2007 (Friday was her birthday) and his son Rickey and is survived by his daughter Chantrell Webb, nephew Bill Shelton and his wife Heather, nephew Parker Lee Shelton, girlfriend Stephanie Hanks and six grandchildren.
Services will be held Sunday, Oct. 7 at the Parker Shelton Bushido Sports Center, 6125 Cross Creek Blvd.. An open house will begin at 1 p.m. and a memorial service at 2 p.m.