Willard Parsons

Willard Donnie David Parsons, a Roswell psychologist and dedicated mental health professional, lost his valiant battle with cancer on July 26, 2013. He was 68. Son of a miner, Will was born May 5, 1945, in Miami, Ariz., and grew up in the company town of Hurley, N.M., working summers as a ranch hand on the Sweetbriar Ranch in Meeker, Colo. In 1968, he earned his bachelor of science degree from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. It was at State that he met and married Susie Stelzner and they began their 46 years together. Out of college, Will joined the U.S. Navy and became a pilot and advanced flight instructor at the Naval Air Training Center in Glynco, Ga. Following his service he taught high school chemistry and science while earning his master of education degree from the University of Georgia. Continuing his Ph.D. studies at UGA he was awarded his doctorate in December 1975. Will was forever a proud Georgia Bulldog. He began his career as a clinical staff psychologist at the Charlotte County Mental Health Clinic in Punta Gorda, Fla., and in 1980 moved his family to Hobbs to become the CEO and clinical director of the Guidance Center of Lea County. In 1997, Will moved to Roswell and founded Parsons Psychological Services. Will was a tireless advocate for families and children. Working closely with the judicial system he was highly respected as an expert witness, providing assessments of child abuse and neglect, mental competency and child custody evaluations. In criminal cases he frequently testified regarding sanity and the ability to form specific intent. His testimony was regarded as thorough and professional but easily understood. He also conducted pre-employment screening for various law enforcement agencies and was the staff counselor at the Roswell Job Corps Center. Will held numerous licensures and professional certifications. He was a member of the American Psychological Association, the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards and was past president of the New Mexico Association of Mental Health Administrators. Civic associations included the Roswell Pecos Valley Rotary Club. He was an avid motorcyclist who rode with the Alien City Riders, and he enjoyed hobbies ranging from model trains to leather working and was good at all of them. But most of all Will was proud of his family and the accomplishments of his wife and children. Loved ones left behind include his wife, Susie, and their children, Eric Parsons of Nazareth, Pa., and Lori Dunbar of Huntsville, Ala.; daughter-in-law Rebecca Parsons, son-in-law Rusty Dunbar; grandchildren Christopher Loftin, Megan Parsons, Jenny Parsons, Kaitlynn Dunbar and Lindsay Dunbar; and sisters Vallie Phillips and Lenore Van Winkle. Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. on Monday, July 29, 2013 at Trinity United Methodist Church. Interment followed at South Park Cemetery. Pastor Glenn Thyrion of Trinity United Methodist Church will officiate. Visitation was held from 12-7 on Sunday, July 27, 2013 at LaGrone Funeral Chapel.

Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on July 31, 2013