Joe Parsons
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TUSCALOOSA | Joe Parsons, age 81, of Tuscaloosa, died December 17, 2015, at home. Services will be 2 p.m. Monday, December 21, 2015, at Tuscaloosa Memorial Chapel. Burial will follow in Tuscaloosa Memorial Park with Tuscaloosa Memorial Chapel Funeral Home directing. Visitation will be from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, December 20, 2015, at Tuscaloosa Memorial Chapel Funeral Home. The body will lie in state one hour prior to services.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Winfield and Adalee Boone Parsons; sisters, Sue Mann, Mary Ruth England and Norma Jane Parsons; and brother, John Parsons.
Survivors include his wife, Marie Parsons; daughters, Christi Parsons (Cody Moser), Melanie Gao, Caroline Parsons and Amanda Parsons-Nelson (Jeffrey Parsons-Nelson); grandchildren, Paul Parsons-Moser, Audrey Gao, Grant Gao, Amanda Parsons-Moser and Bliss Parsons-Nelson.
Joe Parsons loved a good story. He is best known for sitting on his front porch in a rocking chair and spinning yarns for anyone who would stop and listen for a while. He entertained guests from around the world and across the street with his fiddle and exuberant singing. When he retired, he took up woodworking and started spending more time on the front porch talking about politics, philosophy and Alabama football.
Many of his stories were about growing up in the country. He was born in Hueytown, Ala., during the Depression. His father died when Joe was a teenager. And though Joe knew hard times, he always told heroic stories of love and survival, and of a mother who lifted her family from poverty by getting her teaching certificate from the University of Alabama.
He played baseball for Livingston State College and later for the Central Foundry while attending the University of Alabama, where he received a Bachelor's Degree in 1956. He received his Master's Degree from the University of Florida in Rehabilitation Counseling in 1965. He worked for the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services for 30 years.
While he and his wife were raising their family they renovated an early 1900s farmhouse on Hargrove Road that later housed a restaurant called "The Plantation". Mr. Parsons bought and sold fiddles, mainly for the pleasure of talking with people about their music and listening to them play.
In one of his most respected projects for the state, he recruited large numbers of developmentally disabled adults from around Alabama to participate in job training programs, enabling them to make valuable contributions to the workforce.
He was an active member of Holy Cross Lutheran Church for five decades, and raised four girls, all of whom graduated from the University of Alabama.
He served on the West Alabama Rehabilitation Board of Directors.
In his later years he enjoyed watching re-runs of great Alabama football games and iCarly with his grandchildren. They will join the congregation in singing his favorite gospel song, "Walking in Jerusalem," at his funeral.
He died at home from injuries of a fall down the stairs on Thursday.
Pallbearers are his sons-in-law, Jeffrey Parsons-Nelson and Cody Moser, his grandsons, Paul Parsons-Moser and Grant Gao, his granddaughters, Audrey Gao and Mandy Parsons-Moser, his front-porch buddy Gary Standifer, and family friend Milton Denny.
Honorary pallbearers will be Arnold Mills, Archie McDaniel, Bobby Maddox, Skeet Boone, Bill Clark, Ed Allen, Kevin Lind, Tommy McGraw, the BATS (Bible and Theology Scholars), Alex Wright, Stella Rainey, Zanetta Tumlin, his Hillsdale neighbors, Lou Fisher, Roy, the England sisters and Jane Crenshaw, the congregations of University Lutheran Church, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Sulphur Springs Baptist Church and Mud Creek Baptist Church.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 1401 University Blvd, Tuscaloosa, Ala., 35404.

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Published in Tuscaloosa News from Dec. 19 to Dec. 20, 2015.
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Memories & Condolences
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17 entries
January 1, 2016
Sorry to hear of losing Joe. A new friend, Faye and Victor Bonner
December 22, 2015
I am so sorry to hear about Joe. I first met Joe many years ago when we started playing music at Frank Lary's house. Of course, he was a seasoned musician and knew all the songs that we played because he and the Lary's had been playing them for 50 years. He helped me with my chords and was a joy to play with. His "big big" number was "Hot corn cold corn". I am so sorry I missed the funeral. I will miss hearing him sing that song and listening to him laugh. My prayers are with the family and friends of Joe.
Ray Glenn
Ray Glenn
December 22, 2015
Dear Marie and Parsons' girls, grace and peace to you all! Just found out about Joe's homecoming, and am lifting up prayers for all of you. We know how difficult it is to lose someone, particularly around the Holy Season of Christmas (I just had my second funeral this week) so I am saying special prayers! Rita and I remember Joe fondly, and especially his stories and "pickin'." We love you all, and hope to see you all one of these days!
Hank & Rita Hollar
December 22, 2015
Amanda, my heartfelt condolences to you and your family. While I never met your father, I remember your compassion which is a true legacy of his life. Your family is in my prayers.
Angela Williams-Lang
December 21, 2015
I have not seen Joe in years. We used to play checkers together @ the Black Warrior Checker Club. He was a very strong player and one of the nicest gentleman I have ever met.
Nicky Kizziah
December 21, 2015
I was so sorry to read this news today. Many members of your family were kind and loving to me, and Caroline was an amazing friend through a difficult period. I will never forget Joe showing me my first cotton plant...looking for treasures at curbsides...and introducing me to grits. I am thinking of Marie and all of the girls. I'm very sorry. Love, Debbie
Debbie Laswell
December 21, 2015
Caroline I am so sorry ..I'm just now finding out ..I will be keeping you and your family in my thoughts..and prayers ..
Joel Lancaster
December 21, 2015
I know this is a difficult time for the Parsons' family. Please know our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
Nancy Kleinert
December 21, 2015
Rest in our Savior's peace, Joe. Thank you for the love and joy you shared with all of us. My prayers are with the family and friends through this time of sorrow. We celebrate you life and rebirth into our Father's heavenly kingdom.
Sherrie Falkenstrom
December 21, 2015
Our prayers of sympathy to the Parson family. We love you all and would've wished to help celebrate Uncle Joe's life with you.
Mike & Erin Volkert
December 20, 2015
We will always remember you, Joe. Until we meet again...Love, Tim & Linda, Sherrie & Scott Daniel
Linda Daniel
December 20, 2015
Our hearts and prayers are with you as you say goodbye to your dear husband, father and grandfather. We are sending our deepest condolences for your loss.
Christine & Gabe Vincenzo
December 20, 2015
the LORD called home a good man to go to garage sales for him. Jim Ford
December 19, 2015
Maria, daughters and family,
I was surprised to hear about the homegoing of Joe. I am sorry you have experienced this loss. I hope you will find peace within knowing your church family and friends are also here for you. I will keep you all in my prayers that a peaceful spirit soon comes your way. My God continue to watch over you and your family.
D. D. Bivins
December 19, 2015
Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Marie. Edward & Patricia Meyer
December 19, 2015
Marie, Christi, Melanie, Caroline and Amanda Jo: My sincere condolences to of you all at the passing of your dear husband and father. Love, Cousin Martha
December 19, 2015
Sincere condolences to Marie, daughters and the whole family. Christmas in heaven for Joe, cherished memories for you, Marie.
Helga Visscher
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