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Dr. Marvin Joseph Parrish

July 9, 2021
Dr. Marvin Joseph Parrish – clinical psychologist, college professor, jokester, and Kenny Rogers doppelganger – has left the building.
Marvin was born on January 26, 1942, in Wichita, Kansas. After 79 years of wonderful living, making the best of his final years with Parkinson’s Disease, Marvin passed away on July 9, 2021 in Newton, Kansas. He was surrounded by his loving wife and daughters.
Marvin Parrish was a farm boy, a dog lover, a class clown, and an exemplary student. He served as Student Body President of Oklahoma Christian College, where he earned a bachelor’s in English in 1964 and pranked his dorm mates by short-sheeting their beds. Marvin also earned degrees in Philosophy and Religion and Psychology from Wichita State and Washington University in St. Louis. He was the first intern to pursue clinical neuropsychology at the University of Indiana, where it was developed. Dr. Parrish had a long career as a therapist, holding rare specialties in hypnosis. He was the owner and operator of the McPherson and Newton Psychological Service Centers. After serving on-staff at several other mental health institutions, he retired in 2012. White-bearded Marvin also enjoyed a long “acting career,” pretending to be Santa Claus for the many children who saw him in the street and suspected he was Kris Kringle incognito.
Marvin treasured his wife of 52 years, Kathryn Salmon Parrish. He took every opportunity to proclaim she was the most beautiful woman in the world. Marvin’s many hobbies included watching Kansas college basketball teams, gardening and planting trees, playing card games Rook and Skip-Bo, eating Super Supreme pizza, drinking milkshakes and Pepsi, listening to the Oak Ridge Boys, teasing everyone he met, and driving his electric orange Porsche 914 convertible. He put his beautiful baritone voice to use in barbershop quartets, and sang to his older daughter, Angela, who is now a songwriter and music producer. Marvin’s love of justice and equity lives on in the career of his younger daughter, Abbey, who is a paralegal for Legal Aid. Marvin had to wait 44 years to become a father, and he cherished his girls every day.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Lee and Viola, and infant sister Janet Fern. He lives on in the memories of his wife, Kathy, daughter Angela Parrish and son-in-law Dave Richards, daughter Abbey Parrish, brother and sister-in-law, Paul and Linda Parrish, and many cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends. He also lives on in the positive trajectory of the lives of those he helped as a therapist.
A memorial service will be held Wednesday, July 14, at 11am at Petersen Funeral Home, 215 N Main St, in Newton. A memorial has been established with The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, ℅ Petersen Funeral Home.
His family thanks his doctor, Randall Goering, who helped him live a quality life with Parkinson’s for 15 years. Marvin was relentlessly positive. He frequently spoke about how his life with Parkinson’s was still blessed. When a person is disabled in some way, they alone determine their quality of life. His family is heartbroken that the doctor is out, but they are celebrating his rich and full life. So have a milkshake or plant a tomato seed in his honor. And take heart in his wonderful words – “Who I am and who I’ll be is, for the most part, up to me.”

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16 thoughts on “Dr. Marvin Joseph Parrish

  1. I’m just a stranger who saw this on twitter and because I lost my Father recently was motivated to read. But, I am struck by what a uniquely wonderful individual Dr. Parrish was and even in death he continues to influence others – as I am writing his words in my “Notes” and will share them with others.

  2. Kathy, I am so sorry for your loss. He sounds like a wonderful person. I know you will be lost without him. He will live on in the hearts of you and your girls. You and your family are in my prayers.

  3. Condolences to the family.
    Marvin led a life well lived.
    May that memory be of comfort to all his family & many friends.

  4. Kathy and family, so sorry for your loss. Thinking of you. Love and prayers to all. Susan Corona.

  5. A beautiful tribute for a man who made a difference for so many. Thinking of those he touched who mourn his passing.

  6. Every encounter I was blessed to have with Marv left me with a warm fuzzy feeling, a peace and comfort embraced by his soft genuine care and a smile or out loud laugh! Rest In Peace dear sweet Marv.

  7. Mrs. Parrish, girls and Paul,
    I met Marvin when we played football together at Bentley High School in 1961. He was fun loving and a genuine nice guy. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  8. We are sorry for your loss. It sounds like a wonderful person has left this earth but will live on through the wonderful memories he left behind. Praying for comfort for the ones he left behind.

  9. So many great memories with the family going back 60 years. Lee and Viola gave the boys a great home —and questioning minds. We are all fortunate to have known him-he elevated the life experience for all . Thank you, Marvin!

  10. I am so sorry for the loss of Marvin. I remember him as a very special guy. I know Joe held him in high regard always. Sending hugs to you Kathy and girls and wishing you God’s Peace and comfort!

  11. Thinking about you and your father today, Angela. It’s the worst club we’ve been in together, but I’m so grateful for the time I had with my dad, and I’m so glad you were able to share the time you had with yours.

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