Pastors' Memoirs

William Duncan Parrish, 1929 – 2007

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2008 Memoirs

 William Duncan Parrish was born on Saturday, Jan. 26, 1929, in Winston-
Salem, N.C., to Sydney Monroe and Alma Pope Parrish. At the age of 17, he had a life-changing conversion experience at a Youth for Christ meeting. The Youth for Christ director was the pastor at the local Christian and Missionary Alliance Church. Bill began attending church there where he met Mary Ruth Alspaugh. Bill and Mary dated for three years and were married for 57 years when he passed away on Oct. 2, 2007.
 Bill graduated from Hanes High School in Winston-Salem, in 1947, and was
voted “most intellectual” by his classmates. He cherished the word of God and memorized vast portions of Scripture that remained with him throughout his life.
 Bill received his baccalaureate degree from Nyack College in Nyack, N.Y., and a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Va. An honorary Doctorate of Divinity was conferred upon him by Shenandoah University of Winchester, Va., in 1986.
 He served the Virginia Conference as pastor of the Bethel-Gum Spring Charge in the Richmond District; Skipwith Church in Richmond; Bethany Church in Hampton; Larchmont Church in Norfolk; Washington Street Church in Petersburg; and Annandale and Arlington United Methodist churches in Northern Virginia. In addition, he served as the district superintendent for the Winchester District. He also served as a member of the Virginia Conference boards on ministry, education, and global ministries. In 1984 he was selected as a delegate of the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. Prior to his ministry in The United Methodist Church, Bill served two Christian and Missionary Alliance churches for seven years.
 Following his retirement from The United Methodist Church in 1992, Bill served as the president of the Norfolk Lions Club, and was chairman of the Sight and Hearing Committee of that club for many years. He and Mary also did volunteer work for Meals on Wheels.
 Dr. Parrish is survived by his wife, Mary; his children: Deborah, David, Sarah, Cynthia, Philip and Anne; and 10 grandchildren: Michael and Philip Parrish; Mary Elizabeth, Sarah, and Meredith Coleman; Samantha and Ryan Parrish; John and Matthew Harrison; and Katherine Ackley. He is also survived by a brother, Robert C. Parrish, of Winston-Salem, N.C.
 During his retirement Bill enjoyed the bounty of his family. He authored a book titled Better Together, which provides his family with a written history to enjoy and pass on to future generations. If pride be a sin, then Bill happily sinned when it came to his family. One of his favorite verses was Psalm 16:6 – “The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.”
 Bill died as he lived, with grace and dignity, and without complaint. His family misses him terribly.
— The Parrish Family


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