Henry Parsons

WATERFORD – Henry Parsons passed away at his home in Waterford on the morning of Nov. 29, 2022. Henry, known as “Hank”, enjoyed the outdoors exploring the woods, walking, bicycling, swimming, sailing, canoeing and kayaking area rivers, lakes and ponds. The younger generation speak of how he impacted their lives in many positive ways. He was an excellent teacher and listener with a genuine curiosity for others’ thoughts and ideas. He brought many a smile and laugh with his quick wit and unique sense of humor.

Henry was born in Sydney, Australia to Estonian parents, Herman and Helen Kaba Gleser. They were originally from Tallinn, Estonia in Europe. His mother, Helen, traveled by ship with young Henry back to Estonia when he was 18 months old to meet his grandparents. While they were visiting, the Russians invaded Estonia at the beginning of World War II. Thanks to his mother’s ability to speak several languages she was able to keep her family safe working for both Russian and German occupiers. One of her German employers gave her a permit to work in Germany allowing her escape with Henry, his elderly grandmother, and Helen’s sister and niece on the last train out of Estonia. They became displaced persons for many years during the war moving from Poland to Berlin to a safe farm in Bavaria until the end of the war. They found refuge in an American army camp where they remained until Helen and Henry could return to Australia with the help of the American Red Cross. Henry was 11 years old when he was reunited with his father and older brother, Harry. Henry was finally able to attend school which had been put off because of the dangers of war and learned to adapt to a new culture and language. After the death of his father, Henry and his mother, who was fortunate to win the Australian lottery, were able to immigrate to Canada in 1954 and join Estonian relatives in Toronto.

Henry’s mother, Helen, married an American by the name of John Parsons and moved to his home in Michigan where Henry was adopted by his stepfather in 1956.

Henry was ordered to report to the Selective Service in Lansing, Mich. in 1958. In 1960 he earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University and in 1961 served active duty at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. in an engineering unit. Henry became a U.S. citizen in 1965 while living in Eugene, Ore. and received an Honorable Discharge from the Armed Forces of the United States of America in 1968.

Over the years he worked for several corporations including International Business Machines as a systems engineer, Boeing Company as a staff supervisor-training and General Motors as a manufacturing engineer, before returning to Eugene, Ore. where he completed his formal education. He earned the degree of Master of Science with Honors in 1968 in Operations Management and Ph.D. in Operations Management in 1974 at the University of Oregon.

Henry met his wife, Bonnie, in 1971 in Eugene, Ore. He moved with his wife to the East coast to become an Assistant Professor of Management Science at the University of Rhode Island, School of Business. He took some time off for a few years to become an owner-partner in Ben Alpren Co. in Lewiston, and worked from home writing courses for American Management Associations Extension Institute. By then, he was happy to return to teaching at the University of Southern Maine as an Assistant Professor of Operations Management, becoming an Associate Professor with tenure in the School of Business where he focused on teaching graduate students and working with fellow faculty until his retirement in 1997.

After retirement he enjoyed spending time with his family and walking in the woods over the years with his dogs Molly, Charlie, and Annie. He applied his business background to study the stock market and build investment models. Henry was a lifelong learner. He saved his favorite magazines and textbooks to study over the years, and researched his interests on the computer.

Henry is survived by his loving family, wife, Bonnie Parsons; mother-in-law, Dorothy Murray; son,, John (Kayla) Parsons; grandchildren Liam, Owen, and Kaiden; daughter, Maie (Darren) Wakefield; grandchildren, Ryan, William, and Ava; a cousin, Eva Terts; sisters-in-law Lise Murray and Irma Gleser; nieces Kristen (Andy) Crow, Shannon (Jason) Cloutier, Melissa (Andy) Stevick, and nephews Dana (Kim) Hayman, Scott (Cara) Murray, Ray Bagley, and Michael Bagley.

The family will hold a private celebration of life in the coming weeks.

Arrangements are under the care of Chandler Funeral Home and Cremation Service, 45 Main St., South Paris. Online condolences may be shared with his family at http://www.chandlerfunerals.com

Donations can be made in Henry’s memory to the School of Business Annual Scholarship Fund, online at USM Foundation or by mail to

USM Foundation,

Erin Macey,

P.O. Box 9300,

Portland, ME 04104-9300

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