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Robert "Bob" Elmer Parsons, a man of exceptional intelligence, friendliness, and creativity, passed away peacefully due to natural causes on January 28, 2024, in Tulsa, OK. Born on November 11, 1944, in Allentown, PA, Bob's life was a testament to dedication and service, touching the lives of many with his warmth, creativity, and generosity.
After completing high school at Whitehall High School, Catasauqua, PA., Bob attended Pennsylvania State University where studies focused on Biology and Animal Science. However, his pursuit of such was suspended as he elected to join the U.S. Army to server his country that he very dearly loved.
Command Sergeant Major Robert Parsons, United States Army, retired after serving 27 years in the military forces from December 1965 to September 1993, and is a Viet Nam veteran.
His many noteworthy medals include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (14th awd), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army commendation Medal 4th OLC, Purple Heart 2nd awd, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Viet Nam Service Medal, Desert Storm Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Medal, Viet Nam Cross of Gallantry w/ palm, 5 Unit Citations, numerous campaign ribbons and Expert marksmanship badges. Additionally, He achieved The Expert Infantry Badge (EIB), the German Marksmanship (silver), German Athletic Fitness award, and was honored by the US Army Field Artillery with the Honorable Order of St. Barbara.
Sergeant Major Parsons was and reluctantly admitted that he was “Dual Component” status, having served 8 years and 10 months as an officer, achieving the grade of Captain (USAR Major), and privileged with the opportunity to serve as a Company Commander.
Sergeant Major Parsons military schooling includes Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training, Officer Candidate School (2 Lt.), Officer Advanced Course (Cpt.), Drill Sergeant Academy, and the Sergeant Major Academy. His discipline and dedication earned him the respect and admiration of his peers and subordinates alike.
The only reason Sergeant Major Parsons retired is that he got too old; “Being a soldier is a young man’s sport.”
Upon retirement from the U.S. Army, Robert resumed his education and received his Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry with a minor in Physics. Bob furthered his passion for education by obtaining a Teaching Certificate from the Oklahoma State Department of Education and a Certification in Special Studies - Sports Medicine. His commitment to knowledge and growth was evident in his over 19 years of service as a dedicated educator in both the classroom and on the sports fields as a coach in track and field, weightlifting, wrestling, and football at Webster High School Tulsa, Ok, where he inspired countless students to achieve their goals. He also taught at Tulsa University during summer semesters. However, his passion was the high school students and helping them to see that they can do so much more. He officially retired from Webster High School in 2016 and turned to "volunteering" in the sports programs as he was able to do so. After retiring from teaching, Robert decided to eat better and took culinary courses at OSU Tulsa and stopped one semester short of completing all requirements to become a chef as he stated he only wanted to eat better and not start a third career. "I don't need another title."
Outside of his professional life, Bob found joy in the great outdoors and by lending a helping hand in "projects" for those around him. He believed in the power of community and the importance of being a good friend. This is exhibited by one example during his military career, he assisted in the daily operations of the local consignment shop in Baumholder, Germany on a volunteer basis. His involvement ranged from cleaning the floors and arranging merchandise to ensuring that all those who came through the door received the necessary assistance they needed and the overall operations of the shop itself. As Helen Keller once said, "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." Robert lived by these words, always seeking to collaborate and uplift others.
He is survived by a loving family who cherished his presence in their lives: sister Jane and husband Ron Pascarilla; son Jonathan and wife Billie Parsons; daughter Renee and husband Joe Herbst; and beloved grandchildren Nathan Parsons, Noah and wife Allie Parsons, Alex and wife Alysa Miller, and Molly and husband Eric Freiberg. His legacy continues to shine through his great-granddaughters Layla Freiberg, Lily Freiberg, Luna Miller, and Lilah Miller, who brought immense joy to his later years.
Bob's life was one filled with accomplishment and affection. Those who knew him will remember his ability to solve problems with creative flair and his ever-present smile that welcomed friends old and new. An example of such was his "hobby" of going outside in the afternoons, sitting in a chair in the middle of his driveway with a drink, and visiting with his neighbors and anyone else that passed by. He was a beacon of light in the lives of many, a true friend, and a pillar in the community.
As we say, "see you soon" to Bob and others in Heaven say, "welcome home", we celebrate a life well-lived, a journey marked by compassion, service, and unwavering friendship. He has left an indelible mark on this world, and his spirit will continue to guide and inspire us. Though he may be gone, his memory will live on in the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to know him.
Rest in peace, Bob. your legacy will endure through the lives you've touched and the love you've shared.