NO. 17427 • 4 August 1926 - 9 August 1993
Died in Huntington Beach, CA
Interred, in Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, CA
John Victor Parish, Jr. was born to John V. and Helen Hahn Parish in Youngstown, OH. He attended Bullis Preparatory School for several months following graduation from South High School in Youngstown, OH, in 1944. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving from July to December 1945 and was appointed to West Point by Representative M.J. Kirwan of the 19th Congressional District of Ohio. He entered the Academy as a member of the Class of '50.
Jack arrived at the Academy well‑prepared to cope with its challenges and with a disposition, extensive experience, and the abilities to help his classmates cope with them too. A generous and gifted person with an abundance of energy, his never‑failing optimism and good humor were inspirations that touched us all. And for Jack, humor began with his ability to laugh (invariably at himself). Those who knew Jack would agree with the 1950 Howitzer, that says of him, "Jack had a habitual good nature and a friendliness toward all that is very rare. If ever a man needed some timely assistance, Jack was always ready and quick to help. He was dependable in every way, and worked hard in studies and athletics. Jack faced life as a sportsman should. His presence in any outfit or command in the Army will be most welcome."
As a cadet, Jack seemed to find time for everything, including a class standing in the top 12% of his class. Corps squad boxing, lacrosse, and track along with belonging to the Cadet handball, Camera, and Art Clubs were all part of his interests and activities. Quick intellectually, articulate,. and widely read, it was common to witness Jack devoting study periods to reading a novel, composing poetry, or listening to classical music while his roommates labored to keep up with daily assignments. Following Jack's discovering Peg Darragh in his third class year, letter writing, dragging, and occasional trips to New York City impinged even further upon time that most of us reserved for academics. Long before branch choices were made, it was well known that Jack would be an Engineer. And, an outstanding Engineer he became.
Jack’s contributions over his entire Army career reflect his most significant attribute: leadership. Ranging from his first assignment in 1950 as a second lieutenant platoon leader in the 18th Engineer Combat Battalion in Germany followed by command of a company as a first lieutenant, to Division Engineer, Huntsville, AL, he sought leadership positions throughout his career. Although Jack’s tour as an Army attache at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo from 1958‑60 was a departure from the normal career pattern for an Engineer, he once said that he must have been an effective, hard‑working, and impartial attache because he was appreciated by both the Egyptians and the Israelis. In 1967, while a battalion commander in the OCS command at Ft. Belvoir, he requested assignment to Vietnam, serving for one year with great distinction as commander of the 35th Engineer Combat Battalion.
In addition to branch courses, Jack's education included a master of science in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; study of Arabic at the Defense Language School, Monterey, CA; and the Army War College.
After retirement from the Army in 1977, Jack joined the Federal Railway Administration, where he worked on engineering projects for the Northeast Corridor. After a year and a half, however, separated by the breadth of a continent from their children and lured by memories of the Pacific Coast, Jack and Peg decided they were ready for another major change in their lives. Jack sought employment with Fluor Corporation in California and, when an opportunity occurred, the Parish family made their last move ‑ to Huntington Beach. Here, for the next fourteen years, Peg and Jack spent the most satisfying period of their lives. In 1990, Jack was unexpectedly diagnosed as being in an advanced stage of cancer. Following a period of treatment and a promising remission, the cancer recurred. Offered participation in a pilot immunotherapy program conducted by the National Institutes of Health, Jack accepted. He dealt with this difficult period in a way true to his character – he joked, for example, that Max, his German Shepherd, didn’t recognize him any longer. Mcdications in the experimental treatment had changed his scent and the dog was puzzled, causing Jack to ask on one occasion, "How will I ever again convince Max that this strange‑smelling man is his master?" The experimental treatment was not successful. Jack died and was buried in Riverside National Cemetery. He is survived by his wife Peg of Huntington Beach, CA; and children: Richard of Irving, CA; Christie Gillis of Hayward, CA, Carolyn Curtis of San Diego, CA; and David of Seattle, WA. Jack is also survived and will always be remembered by his many friends. We all carry a part of Jack with us.