John Parr

Obituary of John McCutcheon Parr

John McCutcheon Parr, 77, passed away on February 5, 2024.  He was born on April 16, 1946, to William “Bill” and Esther Parr in Olympia.  A life-long Olympia resident, John attended Garfield Elementary, Jefferson Junior High and graduated in 1964 from Olympia High School.  In 1968, he graduated from the University of Puget Sound, where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity.


John married Sallie Howe at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Olympia on July 13, 1968.  Shortly afterwards, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, serving two years, first in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and then Korea.  John earned his J.D. from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 1974. 


John and Sallie moved back to Olympia, where John joined his father’s law practice.  He was proud of the fact that a member of the Parr Family had practiced law in Thurston County since 1906.  After practicing law for 43 years, John retired in 2017.  His son, Gavin, is an attorney in Seattle.


John was active in numerous legal professional organizations, as well as in the community.  He enjoyed educating others at his Estate Planning and Elder Law seminars.  He also served on the Board of Directors for Thurston County Parks, Creative Theater Experience, and Twin Star Credit Union.  John was a member of First United Methodist Church and enjoyed singing in their choir.


John was a patient listener, wise advisor, and mentor to many.  He enjoyed playing golf and fishing with friends or playing tennis and hiking with Sallie.  They experienced many traveling adventures, delighting in opportunities to connect with old and new friends.  On Sunday afternoons, they were often walking park trails, or combing their beach for agates. John enjoyed baking and generously shared his baked goods with others.  Over the years, he lovingly crafted hope chests and wood furniture for many of his friends and family, including his three grandchildren.  These labors of love will be treasured for years to come.


John delighted in being a father and grandfather.  He was engaged and encouraging as he played alongside his grandchildren in their earliest passions.  John took pleasure in watching their sports and attending dance and musical performances.  He was curious about what his grandchildren were learning in school and in life, and enjoyed offering his wisdom and perspective.


John is survived by his wife of 55 years, Sallie; his two children, Gavin Parr (Hazel) and Katie Russell (Steve); three grandchildren, Peyton and Allie Russell and Ella Parr; his sister, Caroline Estcourt (Mike); brother, Bill Parr (Francie); sister-in law, Mollie Mansfield (Brian); and many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews, cousins, and dear friends.


John touched and enriched many lives.  He will be greatly missed.


The family will hold a celebration of life on Sunday, April 21, 2024, 2:00 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of Olympia, 1224 Legion Way SE, Olympia, WA 98501.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Thurston County Food Bank, or Olympia Union Gospel Mission.


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