Beverly Wayne Parsons passed away at the age of 96 on December 9, 2020 in Carmichael California after a long illness.
“Wayne” preferred to use his middle name throughout his life. Wayne was born on May 1, 1924 in Fort Dick, Del Norte County, California. His parents were Henry and Marian Parsons. He was the oldest of his siblings, Dale, Shirley and Gary. All the Parsons children were parented and raised in Crescent City by kind, loving, faithful and nurturing parents who upheld strong Christian values.
Wayne graduated from Del Norte County High School in June of 1942. He excelled in his classes and received a special Shorthand Speed Certificate Award for writing one hundred words a minute without a single error. His proficiency in shorthand writing was a skill he used his entire life.
After graduation he worked several months with his Dad in the family trucking business.
He was inducted and enlisted into the US Navy in April 1943. He initially worked as an assistant office clerk with the US Engineer’s War Department in Crescent City, then went through basic training in Farragut Idaho. He continued his training in Berkeley CA and worked for the Navy in several Naval Base installations as a records officer and office clerk. His office skills and shorthand expertise made him an asset to Navy Officers stateside throughout World War II. He received an honorable discharge from active duty in June 1946 and continued to serve in the Naval Reserve until June 1950. Wayne received several commendations and awards from his service in the Navy, including the American Area Victory Medal, the Honorable Service Award, and for proficiency in office records management.
Following his discharge from the Navy Wayne used the GI Bill to enroll in the Business School at the University of CA at Berkeley. He graduated with honors with a BS in Business Administration in 1947.
In 1947, Wayne met Arthur Gravatt in Carmel, California. They became fast friends that grew into a lifelong bond and relationship as partners that lasted for 63 years until Art’s passing in 2010.
Together they shared a common interest in art, music, opera and theatre, classic cars, travel, family gatherings, home interior decorating, and much more.
Both Wayne and Art were instrumental in helping to establish the Packard Automobile Club in 1953 to help honor and sustain the legacy and reputation of the Packard Car Company, and to preserve classic Packard automobiles. The inspiration for the Club was Wayne’s purchase of his prized 1938 Packard Super 8 Limousine in 1951, which he owned for 70 years and has received numerous awards as an outstanding classic car.
Following graduation from Berkeley, Wayne was hired by the Western Electric Company in San Francisco as a Management Trainee in 1947, which launched him into a 35-year career with the Company. During his tenure at Western Electric Wayne held many increasingly responsible positions as a Section Chief over Stock Maintenance, Plant Service, Receiving and Shipping, and Warehousing; and became a Senior Executive within the Company.
During his career Wayne received many recognitions and awards for his skills as an innovator in new concepts and design in telephone apparatus and manufacturing, as a negotiator on resolving difficult business agreements, as an expert cost reduction analyst. While there, he also introduced new computer technology to the company and corporate management decision making.
Wayne was asked by Western Electric to serve as the company’s Loaned and Sponsored Executive for the San Francisco United Way in 1979. In this position Wayne helped to increase Bay area corporate and individual giving to United Way by more than 10% from the prior year, or nearly $3.2 million dollars - the highest increase in many years.
Following his retirement from Western Electric, Wayne became an independent financial advisor and investor. He pursued a lifelong interest in the stock market and in developing sound financial practices for retirees and other investors.
In many ways, Wayne was a true “Renaissance Man” with a keen intellect and diverse interests in business, the stock market, politics, the arts, playing classical music on his 1904 Steinway piano, attending Packard Club meetings and classic car events, and traveling throughout the country and overseas. Wayne’s greatest interests in life centered around life with Art, driving and showing off his 1938 Packard Limousine, playing his piano and attending every significant family event: celebrations, weddings, graduations, anniversaries, retirements, Thanksgiving and Christmas family gatherings.
He was especially devoted to caring for Art, his parents and his beloved siblings in their final years.
Wayne Parsons set the standard by which one is genuinely loved, honored, respected and remembered in this life. He was a man of great character, honesty, integrity and kindness to others his entire life. He loved his family deeply and gave generously of his time, talents and resources to them, especially during their times of greatest need and adversity. He was a loyal and devoted friend that could always be relied upon for help, advice and wise counsel.
Wayne was preceded in death by his partner Arthur Gravatt, parents Henry and Marian Parsons, his sister Shirley Zais, and his brothers Dale and Gary Parsons. He is survived by his sister-in-law Jean Parsons, Cousin Sharon Van Bebber, nephews Richard A Zais Jr and his wife Tammy, Gary Halverson and his wife Susan, Hank Halverson and his wife Gena, Joseph Parsons, nieces Kathleen Oechsner-West, Marilyn Brandler and her husband Bruce, Susan Parsons Klein, and many great nieces, nephews, cousins and countless close friends and members of the Packard club throughout the United States and overseas.
A Celebration of Wayne’s Life will be held later in Santa Rosa, CA.
Gravesite Funeral Services for Wayne will be held outdoors at the IOOF Cemetery in Crescent City California on January 9, 2021 at 11:00 AM.
Donations and memorial gifts in Wayne’s memory may be made to the Packard Motor Car Foundation in Shelby Township, MI, or the charity of your choice.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Wier’s Mortuary Chapel in Crescent City, CA.
Please sign the family’s online guest book at wiersmortuary.com.