Obituary of John Richard Parr 1961/2014
John was the second of the four Parr brothers to be educated at St Joes in the 1970s. Like his brothers and sister, his primary education was at St John Vianney in Marton. He passed his Eleven Plus in 1972.
At St Joes he was a diligent pupil whose fascination with all things mechanical made him well suited to maths and science, and he completed his studies with four good A levels. He took up a place at Leeds University and obtained an honours degree in Accountancy. After much hard work, he completed his professional exams and became a Chartered Accountant in December 1988.
After some time spent in private practice, he worked for various commercial companies in a variety of financial accounting roles. One such role was working for the Craven brothers, David and John, who traded as NST. John Parr and David had been friends at St Joes and remained good friends after John returned to Leeds to pursue his accountancy career.
Before going to St Joes, John had never been particularly suited to football or cricket, but that presented no problem for Ted Schools. When John walked up the big hill for the first time, he could hardly have known what sporting adventures were awaiting him. John was always quick and a brave tackler, and as a consequence Ted found him a place on the wing in a rugby XV that also contained Brendan Hanavan who passed away recently. John was slim and had long strides. The algorithm that was the mind of Ted the athletics coach equated those characteristics to a high hurdler and Johnís first event (in time) was the 110 metres hurdles. In terms of real success Johnís primary event was pole vault. At St Joes he dominated the event with success in the School Sports in the years from 1975 to 1979. He competed and won the Lancashire Schools pole vault in 1975. His Dad, Ken, and family were extremely proud when he was picked to represent Lancashire in the All England Schools Sports of that year.
He was St Joes Captain of Athletics as well as House Captain of Marton House. He won the Victor Ludorum trophy outright once and shared the honour with David Craven the following year. However, flying high and clearing the bar with the aid of a fibreglass pole was to represent scant defiance of gravity in comparison with the pastime that was to dominate his adult life, namely gliding. Motorbikes of all shapes and sizes gave John excitement, but the thrill he got from becoming an accomplished amateur glider pilot and instructor surpassed those two-wheeled thrills and his athletics success. Gliding was probably Johnís sport because it required a keen analytical brain and unthinking bravery. The rewards were the adrenalin rushes and freedom in the skies of West Yorkshire.
Johnís later adult life was dogged by ill-health. Poor circulation and vascular problems led to several years of incapacity and ultimately required a below knee amputation of his right leg. After that operation, his health seemed to improve and he soon adapted to his prosthetic. Because of this apparent recovery, it was a great shock to his family and friends when he died suddenly at home in Leeds on 15 May 2014.
John leaves his mother, Pam, brothers Michael, Rob and Anthony and sister, Liz, as well as ten nephews and nieces all shocked and immensely saddened by his early death at 53.
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