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Cornelius Craig PARRISH

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Cornelius Craig PARRISH Obituary

PARRISH, Cornelius Craig "Neil"Age 77, was born July 15, 1936 in Nashville, Tennessee. His birthday each year was an event not to be missed. He crossed the river into the white pines peacefully and courageously at home on July 26, 2013. He is survived by his loving wife of 30 years Nan Nelson Parrish. He was the adored son of the late Corinne Craig Parrish and Albert Elliott Parrish, Sr. and predeceased by a sister, Mary Craig Parrish; and two brothers, Albert Elliott Parrish, Jr. "Bert" and Edward Craig Parrish. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his devoted daughter, Ashby Parrish Webber (Andrew), Atlanta, Georgia and his daughter, Mary Shannon Paleologos (Andrew), Boston, Massachusetts; granddaughter, Ashby Taylor Webber; grandsons, Harrison Parrish Webber and Logan Angelo Paleologos and, his brother-in-law, Gary Frank Nelson (Kathryn Wayne), San Francisco, California. Neil graduated high school from Darlington School in Rome, Georgia where he played on the golf team and from Vanderbilt University where he excelled at being an SAE. He served in the Air National Guard in photo intelligence and spent a year of active duty in France. He enjoyed a twenty-five year career with National Life Insurance Company which had been founded by his maternal grandfather, Edward Burr Craig and his great uncle and namesake, Cornelius Abernathy Craig. Neil was proud of his roots with the Grand Ole Opry founded by National Life as a vehicle to provide affordable insurance to rural America. His love for country music never diminished as he listened to WSM (We Shield Millions) radio station every day. After the company was sold to American General Neil formed Neil C. Parrish Investments, establishing his office at The Boardroom in Green Hills among many friends. During that time Neil was able to expand his charitable endeavors with the help of his wife Nan as they volunteered, serving on various boards and committees in Nashville and New York City where they spent several weeks a year. Neil was particularly dedicated to his work with NCCJ, 100 Club, Shakespeare in the Park, and Central Park Conservancy. He dedicated a bench in Central Park to his wife with a plaque that reads, "God gave the world trees, flowers, and love and gave me an angel, Nan." She dedicated a tree to him which is the only European Hornbean in the park. It is standing alone on a green slope leading to Conservatory Pond and she likes to say Neil is just like his tree, one of a kind. Neil was the Titans' greatest fan with his enthusiasm made even more enjoyable through friends, Rudy Kalis, Buzz Jacoway, Dr. Frank Carroll and extraordinary friend Boone Marable. The family is grateful to the Titans' Organization, Marty Collins and Bob Lyons for making it possible for Neil to attend the games easily and comfortably in his wheel chair. He enjoyed endless rounds of golf, remembering every shot even as a child learning to play. He never met a golf course he didn't like, from the public courses to the most celebrated courses in the country. His favorite rounds were with his golf foursomes throughout the years at Belle Meade Country Club. Neil's incomparable wit, teasing without malice, and sense of humor won him many friends from all walks of life. He cherished his many friendships both past and present. Neil received his roses while he was living after his first stroke in February 2011 from the outpouring of love and devotion he received from his Parmer School friends, his fraternity brothers, his lunch buddies, his breakfast group, his poker group of fifty years, his neighbors at The Westbury and around the neighborhood, including his friends at Fire Department Station 17, his extended family of nieces, nephews and cousins, his friends at Westminster Church and all his many lady friends. Neil once said to a group of one hundred and twenty women Nan gathered for his birthday lunch, "I have never seen so many shades of lipstick and I love them all." The family will be forever grateful to his dedicated team who became his extended family, especially lead team member Insa Dabo, Luz Elena Figuro, Bear Hancock, Bobby Harrell, Joey Jackson, Steffan Stambaugh, Missy Daniels, Nate Robinson and all the staff at Beyond Therapy, with special thanks to Teresa Montes. The family thanks his caring medical team Dr. Michael Kaminski, Dr. Robert Fallis, and Dr. Joshua Smithson with special thanks to Dr. Anthony Breuer, Dr. William Dutton and Dr. Jim Crafton, D.D.S. Neil enjoyed the places that made him feel most welcome and wanted as he faced life's challenges in his wheelchair for over two years and was grateful to the staff at Star Bagel, Sylvan Park Green Hills, LePeep, Bricktop's, The Palm, The Picnic and Belle Meade Country Club. A private memorial and interment will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church officiated by Dr. Donovan Drake and Dr. Carson Salyer. Little was known regarding Neil's endless acts of kindness to friends and strangers when they needed a helping hand, as he quietly and discreetly went about helping. He also mentored many young people over the years, encouraging them to work harder and reach higher. To honor his memory make someone laugh, extend a helping hand to someone in need, or find a beautiful spot to sit and reflect on what you can do to make the world a better place one kind gesture at a time. Neil Parrish will be missed.


Published in The Tennessean on July 28, 2013
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