Edward R. Parish, Jr.
Stillwater Edward Ronald “Ron” Parish, Jr., giant of a man, in stature, presence, and in heart, died on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. He was a full-haired fella, philanthropist, daily phone caller, Farmall tractor and Lionel train enthusiast, outsider artist, amateur historian, thespian, storyteller, and good friend.
He surrounded himself with strong and independent women. He loved his mother, Nellie “Lucille” Parish (deceased), who with the help of his brother, Bob (Barb), and sisters Sandra (Dan Bruzek), Karen (Ed Kramer), and Gayle, kept their father, Edward Parish (deceased), in good standing with the citizens of Delavan. He married his sweetheart, Patricia (Cook), a cosmetologist, almost 40 years ago, and had one daughter, Anne Marie (Jer Baert), of Duluth. He taught her how to check phone “peds” for mice, to recite a crowd-groaning “Dad joke,” to love the natural world, to serve others generously, and to be grateful to live life on one’s own terms.
Weekly, he and Pat joined their neighborhood friends for “Hamburger Night” and explored the eateries of the Stillwater area. He would treat hometown friends to a birthday dinner-which was complements of Country Kitchen. He relished in keeping in touch with everyone, informing them of the happenings and events of family and friends through phone calls.
As a point of pride, he could remember important and seemingly unimportant dates in history and even more impressively, remember which day of the week on which those dates occurred. Local bookstores welcomed him with open arms and he could often be found in them reading any history book he could get his hands on. His home office overflows with history and political books and memorabilia. One of a rare breed, he called himself an “Eisenhower Republican,” on his desk are a framed photo of his daughter, a photo of his extended family, and a photo of Ike.
Ron traveled extensively both domestically and internationally. He always spent the extra money to upgrade travel experiences for Pat and Annie, which have spoiled them for life.
He had a lifelong love affair with popcorn, canned mixed nuts, ketchup and mustard, chocolate-covered anything, carrot juice, coffee, Arnie Palmers, pies in general and specifically pecan and chicken pot pie, and ice in his white wine.
He excelled in his work, owning and managing the Delavan Telephone Company, bringing essential phone and Internet services to a rural farming community. A visionary, he predicted the growing strength of the cellular phone industry and invested early, which brought prosperity to his family.
As a former telecommunications teacher for Northwest Kansas Technical College, Ron was deeply interested in the landline phone and maintained his expertise by evangelizing its greatness through a lecture titled “Landline Telephones Connecting Rural Communities: One Ringy Dingy, Two Ringy Dingy” at the Duluth Karpeles Museum.
He brought humor and modeled unconditional love to thousands of people during his life. He connected people from around the world, and will be remembered by family and friends when they perform compassionate deeds in their communities. He was fond of a saying that summed up his practice of radical love, “Well, all you can do is love.”
Funeral Mass was held at Saint Peter Claver Catholic Church, St. Paul, on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017.
Burial was held at Rice Lake Cemetery in Delavan, on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017.
In lieu of flower arrangements, the family asks that you send donations to St. Peter Claver Catholic Church.