In Memory

Rick Parlette VIEW PROFILE

Rick Parlette

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05/19/11 06:08 PM #1    

Richard Epting

I can't remember when I first heard the news of Rick's death; I think it was around the time of our 40th reunion.  I was saddened because Rick was a close friend who was liked by everyone, and shocked because Rick had always seemed different from the rest of us - he  seemed to be blessed with good fortune.  As 6th grade boys at Central, we were all in an awkward stage of life: insecure, lacking in confidence, and socially very clumsy.  Rick, on the other hand, appeared to be  older than the rest of us, more mature, more confident and self-assured.  It didn't hurt that he was a good athlete and the girls really seemed to like him.  His older brother, Ozzie, was Carlmont's starting Q.B. and his family had a really big swimming pool which made him even more popular in the summer months.  As we progressed through the years at Tierra Linda and Carlmont, Rick remained the one person we all looked up to.  He had a sharp wit, and. possessed an inner confidence way beyond his years. Like all of us, he sometimes fooled around in class and yet he  was seldom sent to the principal's office.  He drove just as fast as the rest of us, but never once got a speeding ticket.  Whether he was just lucky or his self-confidence always led him to make the right decisions we'll never know.  But what I do know is, Rick led a semi-charmed life. When we graduated, 50 years ago this June, we all went our separate ways.  Rick headed off to the University of Nevada in Reno, which he attended for two years.  He quickly found out college life was not for him because he had far more adventurous plans.  Rick was born to be a fighter pilot and he probably realized that from a relatively young  age .  Rick didn't want to just fly jets.  No, his self-confidence pointed him in a different direction.  Rick wasn't going to take off and land on a long, safe runway in the middle of the Mojave Desert ; instead he   became a naval aviator, where his takeoffs and landings were performed on a very short runway on top of an aircraft carrier bobbing up and down in the middle of the ocean.    Rick became a highly decorated F-4 Phatom pilot serving two tours of duty in Viet Nam.  After the war, for health reasons, he was forced to take a desk job at Miramar Navy Air Station.  Later, he was assigned to the Pentagon as an Executive Officer for Naval Affairs.  Rick died of cancer in 1986 at the very young age of 42.  He is survived by his daughter Laurie, his step-son Fred, second wife, Betty, and his older brother, Austin.  After Rick's death, the navy placed a plaque on the Miramar  ( Top Gun)golf course honoring his service to his country.  I have no idea what that plaque says, but I'm pretty sure if Rick had his say, the words would be brief and succinct:" Rick Parlette, Naval Aviator ". He will always be remembered by those who knew him.

05/19/11 11:12 PM #2    

Gerrine Cowgill (Peckenpaugh)

Stunning. What a nice guy. During our years at Tierra Linda, Rick and I would ride with some of the teachers to Lake Tahoe for a weekend of skiing. Of course, we had to do some work to earn our way. Super nice guy.

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