Amherst Magazine

Richard W. Parsons '38

Deceased February 18, 2007
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Richard W. "Dick" Parsons

It’s the way to go, we’ve often heard, and that’s the way Dick went.  A sudden heart attack took him in his dining room as he was getting ready for some Sunday evening gospel singing with friends, his son, Bruce, said.

It happened February 18, 2007, at the retirement home in La Crescenta, CA, where Dick lived with his wife, Rachel.  He was ninety and had not been ill.

A rarity at Amherst College, Dick was born in Amherst (his father was a dairy farmer) and he graduated from Amherst High School.  He majored in math and German and put his math skills to use in his career as an accountant and computer programmer.    After college, Dick first worked for Lockheed Aircraft, then as a bombsight mechanic (t/sgt) for the US Army Air Corps in Africa and Italy.  After the war, he married Rachel Ewing in 1945, and they built a house on a two-acre tract in Greenwich, CT, where Dick worked as an accountant and auditor for the US Post Office for fifteen years.

Then, in 1961, he got a job as a computer programmer for the US Veterans Administration in California.  He retired in 1980, and he and Rachel went to live in picturesque Twain Harte, ten miles east of Sonora, where, his son said, he enjoyed a wood stove and loved to walk with his dog in the woods.  The town is named for authors Mark Twain and Bret Harte.

After moving to La Crescenta near Los Angeles, he continued to pursue his interest in concerts and the opera.  “Above all, he was a loving man who took good care of his wife of sixty-one years,” Bruce said.  He was buried in Twain Harte after a memorial service at a Los Angeles cemetery.

Besides his wife and son, Dick left a daughter, Wendy Chessons, and four grandchildren.  Two cousins are Amherst alumni, Donald S. Parsons ’55 and Dr. Sidney B. Parsons ’62.

George Bria ’38

 

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