Birth Date: 10/27/1944
Deceased Date: 04/20/2018
SMITHFIELD – Thomas Haywood Parrish, age 73, died Friday morning in Smithfield Manor following a period of declining health. Born October 27, 1944 in New Hanover County, he was the son of Kenneth Lawrence and Vera Jenkins Parrish. Tom was a good athlete and was interested in many sports. An avid golfer for many years, he played often at the Country Club of Johnston County and even won the member–member championship in 1975 with a friend. He also enjoyed the many trips with friends to Myrtle Beach to play golf. An active member of Ducks Unlimited, he served as co-chairman of the DU Banquet and often attended the DU convention with his wife. Tom’s interest in horse racing started in 1983, when he attended the Preakness, the second leg of the Triple Crown, with a group of men from Johnston County. Thinking he would try it one time to quiet Ray Knott, he came home a fan. From that time until October 2017 he and Phyllis have traveled to numerous racetracks in Maryland and Kentucky to see friends and watch the horses. Tom, with the help of friends, syndicated a race horse in 1996 and that started the ball rolling for future partnerships in other horses and new friends. He took great pleasure in handicapping the Triple Crown Races as well as other stakes races around the country. But, it was 25 years ago that Tom and Phyllis were introduced to the Wilmington, NC Jazz Festival by Carl and Winkie Worley of Selma. Since that time the Parrishes have attended every Jazz Festival to date. It was one of the highlights of Tom’s year. Tom had a great love for animals of all sizes, but especially his dogs over the years which were mostly rescue dogs. His present dogs, Tessa and Buddy, came from Ruf Creek Ranch Animal Rescue and Adoption Center in Smithfield.
A memorial service will be conducted at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, April 28, 2018 in the chapel of Parrish Funeral Home in Selma. The family will receive friends immediately following the service.
Surviving are his wife, Phyllis Ellis Parrish and numerous loving cousins, nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers Phyllis asks that memorial contributions, in Tom’s memory, be made to either, Ruf Creek Ranch Animal Rescue, 5201 Brogden Road, Smithfield, NC 27577 or the Race Track Chaplaincy of America, 2365 Harrodsburg Road, Suite A120, Lexington, KY 40504.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.parrishfh.com.