Obituaries » The Rev. Dr. William Potter Parrish

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The Rev. Dr. William Potter Parrish

May 12, 2019

U.S. Veteran

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Rev. Dr. William Potter Parrish Loving father and grandfather . . . gentle soul . . . inquiring mind . . . scientist . . . priest . . . counselor . . . teacher . . . scholar, and servant.

He quietly departed this earthly life on May 12, 2019 at Westminster Canterbury, Lynchburg, Virginia.

Born October 5, 1925 in Carrolltown, PA,; . He was the seventh of eight children born to Harry Lawrence Parrish and Ruth Fishborne Potter.

At the age of 17, during World War II, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, serving for seventeen months in the South Pacific. Upon his return, he completed his high school education at Altoona High School, Altoona, PA. where he met the love of his life, Jacqueline Marie Felten, in Biology class.

He attended St. Francis College, earning his undergraduate degree in Chemistry in 1949, then his Masters and Doctorate in Biochemistry at Georgetown University in 1955. His Thesis was ‘A Study of the Yeast (S. Carlsbergensis) Method for the Determination of Vitamin B6.

In June, 1951, Bill & Jacque were married – ten days after her 21st birthday. They lived in Arlington, Virginia, while Bill worked for the Food & Drug Administration.

Bill was raised Roman Catholic and struggled with the church’s teaching and dogma. Jacque was a Lutheran, so they both found a new home in the Episcopal Church. It was during this time that Bill felt called to the priesthood and he entered Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, VA in 1955.

His first church assignment was at Truro Church in Fairfax, Virginia, before coming to Lynchburg in 1961 to teach Chemistry and Religious Studies at Virginia Episcopal School. He had a way of engaging with his students to make these subjects come alive. In 1966 he accepted a position at Lynchburg College as Associate Professor of Chemistry, returning to V.E.S. five years later as Chaplain and Assistant Headmaster. In 1974, he went to work at Babcock & Wilcox Naval Nuclear Fuel Division in Human Resources and Training. All the while, he concurrently continued his ministry in various capacities at every Episcopal church in the Convocation; one of the first bi-vocational priests in the diocese and well known for his seemingly extemporaneous style of preaching and his loving pastoral care and counseling. He served as Rector of Saint Peter’s Altavista, St. Luke’s Pedlar Mills, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Chatham and Trinity Episcopal Church, Gretna. His final association was being on the staff of his beloved St. John’s Episcopal Church, Lynchburg.

In addition to his family, his dogs, his love of opera, reading, and Sudoku, Bill also found great joy serving as a volunteer at Virginia Baptist Hospital, giving more than 5,000 hours over seven years. He considered it his new ministry to discharge patients, especially mothers and newborn babies, with encouragement and a blessing.

Bill was predeceased by his wife of 49 years, Jacqueline Marie;, his parents, Harry and Ruth; and, two brothers and three sisters, Ruth, Aileen, Jack, Harry, and Fran. He is survived by two sisters, Patty and Ann; , three children, Betsy Parrish Howard (Dennis) of Lynchburg, Virginia, Bill Parrish, Jr. (Stuart Mills) of Afton, Virginia and Jonathan Parrish (Minou Lallemand) of Honolulu, Hawaii;, as well as five grandchildren, Elizabeth, James, Andrew, Christopher, and Madeleine.

A glorious celebration of his life will be held Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at 11 a.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 200 Boston Avenue, Lynchburg, VA. The family will receive friends at a reception immediately following the service.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to the St. John’s Jacqueline Parrish Music Fund, 200 Boston Ave, Lynchburg, VA 24503, Westminster Canterbury Fellowship Fund, 501 VES Road, Lynchburg, VA 24503, or the Virginia Baptist Hospital Auxiliary, 3300 Rivermont Avenue, Lynchburg, VA 24503.

The family wishes to express their deepest appreciation to the wonderful nursing and support teams at Westminster Canterbury and& Hospice. Dementia robbed him of his recall and his passion for learning, but it never stole his good humor and pleasant, gentle spirit. Praise be to God.

Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Lynchburg, is assisting the family.





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