Jack Dave Parsley
Longtime Kendrick resident, Jack Parsley, died in his sleep
on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, at home. It was a peaceful end
to 77 years of love, laughter and meaningful work. Jack was
a rare and colorful character. He was a farmer by trade and
a comedian by nature. Anywhere Jack was, there was laughter.
Jack was frequently asked to be the master of ceremonies at
such events as the Junior Miss pageant and state road conven-
tions. He was, in fact, a ham.
He was born Feb. 5, 1936, in Lewiston, to Dick and Agnes
Parsley. The youngest of four children, they christened him Jack
Dave, plain and simple. Jack spent his early and middle years in
Anatone and Clarkston, where his parents were postal workers.
They gave up their jobs to homestead a farm near Kendrick. It was
a pivotal move. That land would eventually become Jack's life work.
He graduated from Kendrick High School in 1954, but a diploma
was not all that Jack pursued there. That's where he met and wooed Donna Plastino. The high school sweethearts were married Nov. 5, 1955, at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Lewiston. They celebrated their 58th anniversary together last fall. Jack and Donna had five children, Ric, Gina, Ginger, Jim and Jenifer. They also considered Lynnese Steigers a "bonus daughter."
Jack started helping his parents farm outside of Kendrick when he was 15 years of age. He went to college at the University of Idaho for a year and then came back, married Donna and worked as a Gandy dancer for the railroad in addition to farming for the first part of their marriage. After about four years of working two jobs, he quit the railroad and made his living growing wheat, peas and barley. It was a great place to raise a family and he taught his children a wonderful work ethic by having them help on the farm.
Before retiring completely, Jack occupied himself for a time as an implement salesman. However, he never stopped loving the land he had farmed for more than 55 years. That ground, situated on a high plateau, is where Jack Parsley always felt on top of the world. It is where his ashes will be buried, not far from the memorial stone for his eldest daughter, Gina Helbling, who passed away last year.
Jack was also civic-minded. He never shied away from leadership roles. He was a South Latah County commissioner for 50 years and received the Bulldog award for being on the board the longest; a member of the Federal Land Bank board for 15 years; and he served on the Kendrick School Board for 10 years.
More importantly, he was a warm and affectionate family man, kind and easy-going, called "Pop" or "Poppa" by his six grandchildren. He was content simply to watch others enjoy and have fun. His specialty was keeping everyone entertained with his quirky sense of humor. Jack's upbeat nature was a lifelong asset and endeared him to friends, neighbors and community members. He will be missed.
He is survived by his wife, Donna; sons Ric and Jim Parsley; son-in-law and daughter Dave and Jenifer Curry; son-in-law Dan Helbling; brother Dale Parsley; sister Naidean Shepherd; grandchildren Jack, Belle, Dylan, Pepper, Katie and Jessica; and two great-grandchildren, as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins. He was welcomed into heaven by his parents, Dick and Agnes; a brother, Donnie; his in-laws, Charlie and Effie Candler and Ben Plastino; and his daughters, Ginger Parsley and Gina Helbling.
A memorial celebration will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Vassar-Rawls Funeral Home in Lewiston, with a reception to follow at noon at the Seaport Club adjacent to the Red Lion. In lieu of flowers, the family would like donations to be made to the Kendrick-Juliaetta Ambulance fund or the Kendrick Grange.