Parris Peco Howard, 69, of Springfield, Massachusetts, died unexpectedly on April 29, 2020, at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 20, 1951, to William and Dolly Howard. He grew up in New Jersey and moved to Springfield at an early age. Parris graduated from Classical High School in 1969 and received his Bachelor’s of Education from UMass Amherst. He continued his higher education and earned a Masters of Special Education and Certificate of Graduate Studies. He also received his Certification in Administration from Massachusetts Elementary School Principals Association. Parris was an educator in the Springfield Public Schools for over 30 years, working as a Music and Special Educations teacher and ending his career as a Special Education School Adjustment Counselor. During his career, he worked at the following schools: Armory Street, Frank. H. Freeman, German Gerena Community, and William N. DeBerry. While at DeBerry, he was instrumental in the development of the Partner’s Program with Springfield College. He was also 2nd cook at Camp Atwater for several years and worked at Sears as a credit specialist part time.
Parris was previously a member of St. John’s Congregational Church. As an active member, he had served as Co-Superintendent of Sunday School and on the Board of Homeland Ministries, representing both St. John’s and the state United Church of Christ. Parris was also a part of the first ‘Our Crowd’ Cotillion, a coming-out for young men and ladies. Parris contributed to the community by serving as a member of the Black Men of Greater Springfield and the Springfield Health Commission. He was as a member of the Springfield Education Association, serving as Vice President as well as on the Scholarship Committee. He was a Delegate to the Massachusetts Teachers Association’s Annual Meeting of Delagates for several years and also a Delegate to the National Education Association’s Representative Assembly for several years. On the state level, he served on the Massachusetts Teachers Association as a member of the Ethics Committee and the Minority Affairs Committee. On the National level, he served as a member of the Resolutions Committee for the National Education Association. Parris loved all things fashion and loved to shop and dress! His attention to detail was uncanny and he had no problem expressing his ‘opinion’ with his words or just a look … He also loved to travel and visited cities in the United States as well as countries abroad. He chaperoned two trips to Senegal, West Africa and numerous trips with the chorus at Forest Park Jr. High School. He loved his family and friends and spent time with us often. If he was not spending time with us, he loved talking with us on the phone and was always there whenever he was needed. There were so many memories to cherish.
Predeceased by his father, Parris is survived by his mother, Dolly; a close cousin whom he lived with, James C. Voltz; his four godchildren, Stephanie Pool, Sean Coleman, Natasha Bland, and Jaden Brooks; special nieces Jacqui Brooks, Shirley Morgan-Still, Patricia Bernard, and Alma Lawson; special nephews, Lincoln Brooks, Charles Lawson, and Conrad Simmons; his special friends, Robin Smith, Carol Willis, Paralee Thomas, and Michael & Paulette Blake; close family members, Grafton & Theresa Simmons, Pastor & Mae Morgan, and Bernice Ezell; along with many other family members and friends.
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