MARTA CEO Jeffrey Parker Dies by Suicide: 'He Will Be Greatly Missed'

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Jeffrey A. Parker, General Manager/CEO of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) speaks during Lil Baby's Warm Winter Wishes at West End Marta Train Station on December 23, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Jeffrey A. Parker, General Manager/CEO of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) speaks during Lil Baby's Warm Winter Wishes at West End Marta Train Station on December 23, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Paras Griffin/Getty

Jeffrey Parker, the CEO and general manager of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, has died, according to members of the MARTA Board of Directors.

Bill Floyd, a member of the MARTA Board of Directors, confirmed that Parker died on Friday after stepping in front of a train at the East Lake MARTA station in Decatur, Georgia, according to Decaturish.com.

According to the MARTA website, Parker had over 35 years of experience in both the private and public sectors of the transportation industry. He first assumed the role of CEO and general manager in March 2018 and was recently helping MARTA take on its "most ambitious transit expansion and modernization program since its founding forty years ago."

Chairwoman Rita Scott announced Parker's death by suicide in a statement on Saturday, calling him "an outstanding leader and steward of MARTA whose passing leaves us all heartbroken."

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"As Chairwoman and on behalf of my fellow MARTA board members, we are devastated at this loss as we valued Jeff's leadership and looked forward to him bringing his vision for transit to fruition," said Scott. "The entire metro Atlanta region owes him a debt of gratitude for his transformational efforts and we will not stop working to build on the foundation he created."

She continued, "As we struggle to understand the complexity of this tragedy, we grieve with and for his wife Erin, his daughters and all of Jeff's family and friends as well as his MARTA family."

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp mourned Parker's death on Twitter Saturday, honoring the late CEO for his "incredible mind for transportation and logistics" and his "heart for people," adding that "he will be greatly missed."

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"Marty, the girls, & I are saddened to learn about the tragic passing of Jeffrey Parker - GM/CEO of MARTA," Kemp wrote. "In addition to a remarkable professional career in the public/private sectors, Jeffrey was known for his civic engagement and support for the advancement of his communities."

The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 732 also mourned Parker's death and extended its condolences to his family in a statement shared Saturday on Twitter.

"Parker understood the importance of MARTA and public transit for our city, our members, and our citizens," said Britt Dunams, president of the ATU Local 732, on behalf of more than 2,500 union members.

Dunams said the union had recently been working with Parker "to further strengthen the relationship between our Union and management that recognized the critical role our members have played in keeping our communities moving through the challenging times of the pandemic."

The union vowed to continue its efforts "and strive to make MARTA safer, more accessible, and more affordable for all Atlantians" in Parker's memory.

The MARTA Board of Directors named Collie Greenwood, who had been serving as MARTA's Deputy General Manager, as interim CEO at an emergency meeting held Saturday in the wake of Parker's death, according to Decaturish.com.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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