Eugene M Parsons
July 13, 1928 – September 6, 2018
Obituary for Eugene (Gene) Parsons Eugene Martin Parsons was born on July 13, 1928. He grew up in Molson, Washington, and attended high school in Ellensburg. In Ellensburg, he met the love of his life, Norma Jean Turner. It was onto the U.S. Navy on his 18th birthday. After a 21 - month hitch he found his way back to Ellensburg and graduated from Central Washington State in 1952 with a B.A. in Chemistry. He then packed up Norma Jean (now his wife) and their young son, Greg and headed to Texas. Back in Washington state in 1953, a potential draft classification convinced Gene that a becoming an Air Force officer, would be the thing to do, especially if it led to wings. It did, and soon he found himself flying Green Berets on paratroop training missions out of Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina. Duty in Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and Korea followed. Gene flew the C-119 and also flew the C-130 which was powered by the same turbine engines which would power the future Boeing jetfoils. In 1959 when Gene was a captain, he struck an agreement with the Boeing Company which enabled him to go to school at the University of Washington in the daytime and work nights at the Flight Test Center. The Air Force lost a topnotch pilot but the aerospace company gained a dedicated technician. In 1961 Gene received his degree in Electrical Engineering. In 1964 he joined Boeing’s hydrofoil program to take on what he always said was the best job he’s ever had. “Flying a jetfoil is a lot like piloting an airplane, only if you ever flew that low, you’d get busted for it” he said. He is the second fastest hydrofoil pilot in the world have registered 93 miles an hour at the helm of the “Fresh I” on Puget Sound. His boss, Vern Salisbury held the fastest record. (Gene was ever the diplomat!) He was the first officially Coast Guard licensed master of hydrofoil passenger carrying vessels. In addition to being the pilot, he was also salesman for the jetfoil craft and this took him around the globe. This impressive career didn’t slow down his family life. With wife Norma Jean he raised four children and found time to be a wonderful father and friend. Gene considered his children to be his greatest accomplishment. He loved good food, the outdoors, fly fishing, but mostly his wife and kids. Eugene is survived by wife Jean, sons Greg and Randy, daughters Gail (DiRe) and Diane (Gilliam), and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He will be very much missed by all. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to the Museum of Flight where he was a docent for many years.
Eugene M Parsons
R. Vance Hall
October 12, 2018
I was one of Gene's high school classmates. I remember many good times we shared. Among our pals who played penny ante poker, were Bill Ranniger, Don Erickson and Wesley Peach. Gene and I had paper routes and he and I did the mailings of the Ellensburg Daily Record. Gene was a good student and was one of us that scored in the top ten in the state high school physics and chemistry tests when we were seniors. Gene was also a gifted actor. I remember especially when he played the lead as "The Miser" in the High School Play.
I kept in touch with Gene throughout his life and will miss our many visits over the years. I also remember with fondness his aunt Woods and cousin Bill and would like to hear from Bill if he is still around.