WWII vet James Parrish, of Merrick, dies
After piloting "flying boats" and destroying enemy submarines during World War II, Missouri-born James Parrish settled down in Merrick, where he raised a family of seven children with his wife of 65 years.
Parrish died Dec. 26 of pneumonia at Long Island State Veterans Home in Stony Brook. He was 92.
Born April 29, 1918, Parrish was raised in Springfield, Mo., and attended the University of Missouri on a football scholarship before heading into the U.S. Navy during World War II.
Parrish flew missions of convoy escorts and submarine surveillance, aboard "flying boats" - amphibian patrol bomber planes, such as PBY Catalina and Martin PBM Mariner, that could land on water, according to his son, William Parrish of Eastport.
Parrish rose to the rank of lieutenant commander and was awarded the Air Medal for meritorious achievement. While based out of England and North Africa, he flew the B-24 Liberator, a bomber, and with his crew destroyed two enemy submarines, said his son.
After returning from overseas, Parrish met Evelyn Zambito of Brooklyn while in Virginia Beach.
They married in 1945 and lived in military housing in Pensacola, Fla., before moving after he left the Navy to his hometown of Springfield, Mo., where the first of their seven children was born, said his son. In the late 1940s, the family moved to North Merrick and later Merrick.
Parrish worked in the aviation industry, including 25 years at Long Island-based EDO Corp., where he was a lead tooling engineer on military projects, William said.
Parrish enjoyed working with his hands, and Williams said it was "very rare for anyone to come to our house to repair anything."
He said his father also worked for a time building houses in Levittown: "He was a very good carpenter."
Survivors, in addition to his wife and son William, include sons James Parrish of Kenmore, N.Y., Gregory Parrish of Sunset Beach, N.C., Martin Parrish of West Islip; daughters Cheryl Ferrizz of Deer Park and Doreen Magri of Massapequa; 13 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by another son, Robert.