Obituary of Robert C. Parrish
R.C. Parrish, 95, of Boulder died peacefully of natural causes at Boulder Community Health Foothills Hospital on Monday, October 8, 2018 with his devoted family at his side. He had resided in his Frasier Meadows Retirement Community independent living apartment for 18 years with his wife Faye until she passed away in February of this year.
Born at home on the family farm in Carey, Texas on July 17, 1923 to Carl and Eva Parrish, R.C. was the second-born of five children. He graduated from Carey High School and attended Texas Tech University.
Raised on a dryland farm in the Texas panhandle during the depression and dust bowl, he learned the value of hard work and thrift, which served him and his family well for the rest of his life. Their farm grew cotton and raised cattle, and they started the Lone Star Dairy as a hedge against bad crops. R.C. mostly worked in the dairy, earned his commercial driver’s license at age 13, and had a reputation for driving the delivery truck very fast. His pastor announced at church one day that R.C.’s driving had scared the hell out of more congregants than the pastor had in all his years of preaching.
In April of 1949, R.C. met Faye Collins Harris in neighboring Childress, Texas. She was divorced with a small son. Six weeks later, on May 15th, they were married. He claimed it was a case of love at first sight, and said he always stopped shopping once he found what he wanted. He adopted her five-year-old son with a new name—Jack Collins Parrish, and soon welcomed another son, Larry to the family—a joint effort. They had recently celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary.
Their first two years farming together were inauspicious, due to wind destroying their crops. R.C.’s Uncle, Leo Parrish, owned the Rocky Mountain Motel in Boulder, and convinced the newlyweds to relocate because he claimed: “the wind never blows in Boulder.” Arriving in January 1952 during a chinook, they were unable to unload their trailer for two days because of the wind. They stayed anyway and took up temporary residence in what was the oldest home in Boulder at that time, near 28th Street Bypass and Water Street (Canyon Blvd.). He was proud of his Texas heritage, and never left his home without his signature Stetson hat. Most of his old friends still called him “Tex”, even after 67 years of living in Boulder.
R.C. began his new career in construction working on Gross Reservoir Dam and the nearby Rocky Flats plant. As a construction superintendent, he supervised construction of many commercial buildings in Boulder, including schools, fire stations, churches, and buildings at the new National Bureau of Standards (NIST). He also worked on many residential projects, including ones designed by noted local architects Charles Haertling and Tician Popachristou. Later, he worked as a cabinetmaker for Boulder Wood Products, and the University of Colorado cabinet shop. In 1969, he started his own general contracting business and custom cabinet shop as Par Builders, which became Parrish Construction Co. He retired in 1988 and sold the business to his son, Larry. His motto was “do quality work and treat customers fairly, and you will gain all the business you need.”
In retirement, R.C. and Faye travelled to 49 states in their motor home and travel trailer (they blinked and missed Rhode Island). They also traveled to Ireland, Europe and Hawaii, and took nine cruises, including port calls in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, South Pacific, Alaska, and the Panama Canal.
R.C. was a long-time member of Boulder Rotary and cherished his many Rotary friends and activities. He was a multiple Paul Harris Fellow, and was recently awarded a prestigious designation as an Honorary Rotarian.
With a curious mind, R.C. was an early adopter of technology, often on the leading edge (and sometime the bleeding edge), of new products. His latest gadgets included a book reader for the blind, touch-screen computer, an iPhone, iPad, Bose One, and Amazon Echo Spot. He delighted in asking Alexa for the latest information and jokes. He maintained an amazingly positive attitude and bright smile, even in adversity, which won him many loyal friends through the years.
In 2000, R.C. and Faye reserved an apartment in the new Frasier South complex, and thoroughly engaged in and enjoyed their new community. Questioned at the time about this decision, he said it was “just the right thing to do”. They were able to enjoy many friends and activities and maintain their independence to their last day.
From a young age, R.C. was continuously active in a local church, a charter member of one—serving in many capacities, including deacon and trustee. A man of great faith, he declared recently that he had enjoyed a long and wonderful life, was not afraid to die, and looked forward to seeing his beloved Faye again soon.
He is survived by his son Larry Parrish of Boulder; sister Fern Hill of Boulder; sister Wilma Hammit of Boulder; brother Hershel Parrish of Hendersonville, North Carolina; granddaughter Lindsay (Boris) Krupa of Boulder; grandson Jerrud (Liz) Parrish, of Tucson, Arizona; grandson Collin (Teresa) Parrish of Scottsbluff, Nebraska; three great-grandchildren; and many cherished nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Faye Parrish; son Jack Parrish of Tucson, Arizona; and brother, W.D. Parrish of Boulder.
The family wishes to express gratitude to the staff of Frasier Meadows Retirement Community and Boulder Community Health’s Foothills Hospital for their dedication, professionalism, and compassion in caring for R.C.
There was a private burial at Mountain View Memorial Park in Boulder on Friday, October 12. A public Celebration of Life will be held on Monday, November 5, 3:30 pm at Mountain View Methodist Church, 355 Ponca Place, Boulder, CO 80303. Tel: 303-494-5025. A reception will follow in the church’s Barker Hall.