Deceased January 8, 2022

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in memory

Tim Parsons, who died Jan. 8, 2022, was probably the most activist member of the class of 1963. Throughout his 80 years, he never stopped fighting for equity and justice. 

During freshman year, Tim participated in a 1960 March on Washington in support of sit-ins in the U.S. South. At Amherst, he was elected president of what became Amherst Students for Racial Equality. Next summer, he took a bus south and was himself briefly arrested for participating in a sit-in. The next year, at Morehouse College in Atlanta, he took a class in civil disobedience from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Tim left Amherst in 1962–63 to join the Northern Student Movement urban education initiative in Philadelphia. That meant he was at Amherst when President John F. Kennedy dedicated Frost Library. Tim organized a silent vigil to urge Kennedy to act on civil rights legislation. This annoyed College President Calvin Plimpton, who wanted no demonstrations. Tim graduated in 1964.

Tim became a teacher and taught in elementary schools in Harlem, N.Y., and Newark, N.J. He earned a doctorate in education from Union Institute & University. He worked in many jobs in education. His last was executive director of Youth Building for the Future Inc., in Burlington, Vt., where he lived.

After a diagnosis of Parkinson’s in 2016, Tim visited Cuba with wife Anne Judson. He had tried to enter Cuba in the summer of 1961 via Mexico City, but the Cubans wanted no U.S. visitors right after the Bay of Pigs invasion. 

Tim loved the outdoors and cycling. He exercised, danced, cycled shorter distances and walked to ward off the Parkinson’s as much as he could. In his last email to me, he wrote, “Right now, I’ll walk to the polls and vote for our neighbor Bernie Sanders.” 

Neale Adams ’63