Gerald Franklin Parr

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FARMINGTON – On Dec. 29, Jerry Parr died peacefully and quickly after fighting a valiant year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. His will to survive and positive attitude gave his family and friends more time than expected, and his work with the Dana Farber Institute will hopefully benefit future research and the patients and their families who are affected by this disease.

Jerry’s humble and effective style was known by all he touched, and the response from friends, family and his church community was a profound and wonderful show of love and support. Truly an example of getting back what you give, and the embodiment of the cross-cultural rule of “Doing Unto Others.”

After his birth on Nov. 21, 1930, in Lincoln Park, Mich., to John and Flora (Stembridge) Parr, the family eventually settled in Blue Springs, Mo. He first gave to his country as a member of the U.S. Air Force, where he served in England, Japan and the South Pacific as an electronics technician and earned the rank of staff sergeant. At Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, he met his future wife.

He then went on to a career in food manufacturing, primarily in the dairy industry, after graduating from the University of Missouri.

In 1969, he turned down a lucrative executive job offer, and moved his family to Farmington to raise his children in the safety of a small Maine community, away from the unrest of urban areas, a noble decision he never regretted. After successfully running a small restaurant, he was approached by Northeast Bank and offered the job of senior vice president. He later served as a vice president of Franklin Savings Bank, and after “retiring” from banking, he then had a successful career in real estate sales.

His membership and love of the Old South Congregational Church inspired him to volunteer as trustee, moderator and senior deacon. He was also a state board representative and trustee of the United Church of Christ.

An active volunteer in the community, he helped organize the first American Cancer Society in Franklin County. He was also the first president of the United Way in Farmington.

His affiliation with Kiwanis International earned him The Distinguished Service Award from his work as a regional president and director, and the Western Maine Mountains Chamber of Commerce enjoyed nine years of service from him as a director. He, along with wife Carolyn, were named “Citizens of the Year” by the chamber.

As a Farmington resident, his civic activities ranged widely over several diverse groups. Boy Scout troop 586, Androscoggin Valley Regional Planning Commission, Farmington Development Corporation, Sandy River Apartments, Franklin County Budget Review Committee, University Of Maine, Maine Bankers Association, SAD 9, The United Way, the American Cancer Society, Franklin Memorial Hospital, and the Clearwater Lake Improvement Association. All benefitted from his executive leadership and experience, and his inexhaustable energy and desire to make this world a better place for all.

Most recently his time and energy was directed to the Old South Congregational Church, where he was a leader in the aquisition and development of the “Holman Parish House.”

He is survived by his wife, Carolyn McCollister Parr of Clearwater Lake, Industry; daughter, Sarah Ellsworth of Gorham; son, James Parr of Oak Bluffs, Mass.; he lost a son, Stephen to a 1976 airplane accident; he will also be missed by his brothers, Harry of Independence, Mo., Douglas of Evergreen, Colo. and John of Overland Park, Kan.; sister, Judy Eldridge of Branson, Mo.; and their families, grandchildren, Kayte and Kristen Ellsworth and Sadie and Isaac Parr.

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