WILLIAM THOMAS PARRY, 71
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LAKELAND - William Thomas Parry died December 5, 2013 due to heart disease.
He was born in Bartow, Florida on September 28, 1942 to Lucile (Enwright) and Thomas Houghton Parry, Jr. Known as Bill Parry to most, he was graduated from Lake Wales High School where he played football and then attended the University of Florida. Bill served in the United States Marine Corps, training at Paris Island, North Carolina, and then was chosen for the elite Fifth Force Reconnaissance Company and trained at Camp Pendleton, California. He subsequently served with the Marine Corps in the Republic of Viet Nam.
Upon returning from Viet Nam, Bill rematriculated at, and was graduated from, the University of Florida where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Ornamental Horticulture in May, 1972. He then continued his education at the University of Florida, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Entomology in December, 1972. While at the University of Florida he was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and was inducted into, and served as, president of Alpha Zeta, the Agriculture Honorary organization. On October 31, 1972, Bill opened his business, Parry's Landscaping, and was President of the company for forty-one years until his retirement this year. One of his greatest pleasures was riding past a job site he had designed and admiring the trees and plantings, whether it be a fifty acre commercial site or at a private home. His business was statewide and he loved every job.
He married Margaret Chase Parry on September 29, 1972. Their daughter, Carolyn Parry Nance, was born in 1976, and their son, Thomas Houghton Parry, IV, was born in 1977. His unconditional love for his children is a legacy they will cherish.
Bill, as he was known to his family and friends, will be remembered for his integrity, authenticity, his love of his country, his strong family values, his ardent work ethic, and his passion for his chosen profession. He will especially be remembered for his deep, faithful love for his wife, and pride and profound love for his children and their families. All who met him benefited from his infectious, keen sense of humor, his courteous manner and genuine concern for others and their families. Bill cared about, and showed respect to every single individual with whom he came in contact - from every walk of life. He was a gentleman who always tried to see the brightest side of life. His spontaneous sense of humor often gave birth to humorous and heartwarming "Bill Parryisms" that will long be remembered with affection and pleasure.
He and his wife of forty-one years, Margaret, were soul mates. His greatest joys were derived from his profound love and faithful and fun partnership with her, his children, Carolyn and Houghton and their spouses, Ian and Tiffany and his most recent love, his grandchildren. He cherished being with his friends of any age and considered the time spent with them and especially the friends of his children, a gift. Bill's quiet and authentic faith in a loving and merciful God gave him strength to sustain him both in times of trial and times of joy. He was indeed an inspirational example of courage and grit when facing often seemingly intolerable adversity in health.
For many years, Bill sponsored and coached his son's Dixie Youth baseball teams. He was a member of the Lakeland Margarita Society for twenty-two years and served on the Executive Committee. He was also on the Peace River Center Full Moon Howl Steering Committee. He was appointed to the first Historical Committee of Lakeland.
He considered it an honor to have served as a Commissioner of the Housing Authority of the City of Lakeland between the years of 1987 and 2010. Ten of these years he served as Chairman.
Bill was a thirty-five year member of Wear's Hunt Club where his father-in law, Frank K. Chase, and his cousin, Monte J. Tillis, Jr. were founding members. He served both as president and kitchen chair for over ten years. Both he and his family spent memorable hours around the campfire with their special friends at the camp.
Bill's "Happy Place" was their home on the Homosassa River where he and his family created memories and enjoyed each other and their friends. He loved to hunt and fish and was evermore an avid Florida Gator fan. He had a special culinary talent-his bar-b-que sauce and Spanish bean soup were prized by his family and friends.
He loved the traditions of his family, especially their Christmas tree. His family takes great comfort that he is now at peace in this beautiful season of miracles he loved so very much.
He was predeceased by his father and mother and brother, Thomas Houghton Parry, III and his cousins Monte J. Tillis, Jr. and James Parry Tillis. He is survived by his wife, Margaret Chase Parry; his daughter, Carolyn Lucile Parry Nance (Ian); his son, Thomas Houghton Parry (Tiffany); granddaughters Madison Claire Parry, Frances Paige Parry, and Lucile Margaret Nance; and grandson Harrison Thomas Nance, all of Lakeland. He is survived by his longtime friend, Eleanor Mosely, his sister, Emily Parry Williams of Leesburg, Georgia; nieces Kelly Killebrew Phillips (Tim) and Laura Williams Davis (Tommy), both of Albany, Georgia; brother-in-law, Frank Kneeland Chase, Jr; sister-in-law Anthony Miller; niece Pamela Miller Welsch (Neil); nieces Carolyn Louise Welsch, Mary Catherine Welsch, and Laura Lee Welsch of Greenville, South Carolina. He is also survived by his cousins Frances Pope, Julie Pope Dantzler (Rick) of Winter Haven, Florida and their children Elizabeth Downing Dantzler of Tampa, Florida, and Margaret Welchel Dantzler of Atlanta, Georgia, cousins Michael Gray Chase, William Ward Chase, III and his children Robert Sullivan Chase (Laura) and their children, and Jenny Chase Campbell (Tim) and their children of Lakeland, Cynthia Chase Dodson (Charles) and their children of Mobile, Alabama, cousins Betty Jane Wilson DesChamps (English) and their children, Rosemarie Wilson Edwards and their children; and sister-in law Anthony Miller.
Memorials may be made to: Wounded Warrior Project, 4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300, Jacksonville, FL 32256; the Monsignor John P. Caulfield Legacy Fund/St. Joseph's Church, P.O. Box 30, Lakeland, FL 33802; or Peace River Center, P.O. 1559, Bartow, FL 33831.
A Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Joseph's Church, 210 West Lemon Street in Lakeland, Florida, Monday, December 9 at 2:00 in the afternoon. Jesus I Trust in You.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.heathfuneralchapel.com
Heath Funeral Chapel
328 South Ingraham Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33801
Published in Ledger from Dec. 7 to Dec. 8, 2013