Hal Gwyn Parish
February 17, 1937 - September 7, 2021
Hal Gwyn Parish died on September 7, 2021 with his twin sons at his side, after hospital complications from a car crash. He was preceded in death last year by his wife Judy Garver, by his brothers James, Norman, and Bob, his sisters Polly, Hazel, and Nell, and his first wife Patricia Ann Parish. Hal is survived by his son Donald (Lisa Reese) Parish of Kearney, Nebraska and their sons Evan and Aidan; his son David (Nurya Love Lindberg) Parish of Grand Rapids, Michigan and their children Claire & Nathan; his step-son Frederick (Donna) Gellert and their sons John and Brian; his step-son Karl Gellert and his daughter Lucia; his cousin Janie Marie Sanders of Conway, Arkansas and by his many nieces, nephews and cousins in Mississippi, Ohio, Arkansas, and Texas. Hal was born on February 17, 1937 near Strayhorn, Mississippi the fifth of the seven children of Lena Mae (Neal) and Sherman Arthur Parish. He grew up in the Delta on a small farm on Money Road, was the pianist at Philipp Baptist church, and graduated from West Tallahatchie High School in 1955. He attended college for one year at Ole Miss, then moved North to Ohio to finish his degree at Youngstown State University, while working full-time at factory jobs. Hal enlisted in the Army Reserves as a tank driver, was called up to active duty during the Berlin Wall Crisis of 1961, and met Patricia Wyatt near Washington, DC. They married in 1962, and their twin sons were born in 1965, shortly before his graduation. Pat died tragically three months later. Although encouraged to put his newborn sons up for adoption, he chose to raise them by himself. Hal moved to Midland, Michigan where “Grandma” Edith McDonald helped take care of his young sons. After working several years as a chemical engineer for Dow Chemical, he returned to school for a master’s degree in Chemistry, then briefly taught high school in Algonac, MI. His family moved to the City of Detroit in 1979. For the next 33 years he worked as a chemist for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. In 1990, Hal and Judy Garver, whose sons were friends at Renaissance High, began dating. They were married in 2000, and Judy greatly enriched Hal’s last 30 years. They enjoyed traveling, visiting their grandchildren, and were both active members of the West Bloomfield Rotary Club. Hal had a life-long passion for playing the piano and listening to classical music. Each spring for the past 5 years, Hal and his son(s) took annual road trips back to the Delta where they visited relatives and researched family history. He spent the past year caring for his old dog Zeke. . . . A Memorial Service for Hal was held on Monday, September 13, 2021 at 1 PM at Spirit of Grace Church. Memorial contributions may be made to The Rotary Annual Fund, in memory of Hal Parish, West Bloomfield Rotary Club, at https://my.rotary.org/en/donate