Jeffrey Parker

MARTA CEO and General Manager Jeffrey Parker died Friday night, according to a statement released this morning by the transit agency.

MARTA Board Chair Rita Scott said in a statement that Parker, 56, had died by suicide.

“The MARTA Board of Directors grieves the shocking death of our GM/CEO Jeff Parker who has died by suicide. He was an outstanding leader and steward of MARTA whose passing leaves us all heartbroken. 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. 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. 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. As we continue to grieve, we want you to know that suicide is preventable and help is available to you.”

The agency confirmed that Parker stepped in front of an oncoming train at the East Lake MARTA station.

Parker had been MARTA’s general manager for nearly four years and spent 35 years in the transportation and consulting industry. Just this past week, he led the annual “State of MARTA” meeting, unveiling the design for 254 new rail cars joining the fleet next year.

Tributes and condolences poured in from city leaders, including statements from Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, the Atlanta City Council, DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond, and Atlanta-Region Transit Link Executive Director Chris Tomlinson.

Dickens said in his statement: “I am shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden and tragic death of my colleague and friend Jeff Parker. As MARTA’S General Manager and CEO, Jeff and I worked closely together when I chaired the Transportation Committee on City Council. Jeff understood that MARTA is more than just a transportation system—it represents connectivity for residents and visitors of our great city and region. My thoughts and prayers are with Jeff’s family and friends, and with the staff and board at MARTA, during this very difficult time.”

From the Atlanta City Council: “Jeff Parker’s passing is profoundly heartbreaking, and our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends. His time at MARTA was marked with both a pragmatic and profound vision for our region’s future, and his intelligence, thoughtfulness and dedication will be sorely missed. We ask that you keep his loved ones and the staff and board at MARTA in your thoughts and prayers as we mourn this devastating loss.”

Thurmond’s statement: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my friend MARTA CEO Jeff Parker. Jeff was a thoughtful and dedicated leader and will be missed by all who knew him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, colleagues at MARTA, and all those who loved him.”

Tomlinson said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the untimely passing of Jeff Parker, CEO and General Manager of MARTA. The entire Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority team shares in the loss and grief with his wife, their children, his loved ones and friends, as well as, the Board and employees of MARTA. Jeff Parker was a true advocate for public transit and the citizens MARTA served. It was a pleasure working with Jeff over the years and his leadership in our industry will be missed. We will continue to keep his immediate family and his MARTA family in our thoughts and prayers.”

In a unanimous vote, the MARTA Board of Directors has named Collie Greenwood as interim General Manager and CEO of MARTA at a specially called board meeting on Saturday afternoon.

Greenwood, the former chief service officer with the Toronto Transit Commission, joined MARTA in 2019 as the head of bus operations and was promoted to deputy general manager of operations last January.

If you are in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, call the Georgia Crisis and Access Line at 1-800-715-4225.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.