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James Joseph Parrott

July 9, 1951 – January 14, 2024

We are sad to announce the passing of Jim (James Joseph) Parrott, on January 14, 2024, in Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center. Jim is survived by his wife, Carolyne Wright of Seattle; his mother, Bernice Sullivan Parrott of Iowa City; his son Isaac (Yael Shinar) of New York City, and their three children. Also surviving are Jim’s four younger brothers: Alan and wife Karen of Coralville, Iowa, and their three grown children, Andrea, Michael and David; Steve and daughter Carmen of Clive, Iowa; Jon and wife Juli, also his first wife Frances Graziano and their two grown sons Nicholas and Alex; and David and wife Elizabeth of Renton, WA; also a number of grandnieces and nephews. But beyond mourning, we wish to celebrate the life of this sweet, generous, kindly, creative and funny person, Jim Parrott!

Jim Parrott was born in Iowa City, the eldest of five sons of Herman Joseph and Bernice Evelyn Sullivan Parrott. Both parents were from Iowa farming and small-town families; they met during World War II as pen pals –women writing to enlisted men to keep up their spirits in wartime. While his father worked various jobs (delivery, sales, even on the Iowa City police force for more than 15 years), and his mother worked part-time and then full-time for the telephone company while raising five boys, Jim attended Iowa City public schools and completed his Bachelor of Arts in 1977 (cum laude) at the University of Iowa, majoring in East Asian Languages and Literature, with a focus on Japanese language and culture, and later taking graduate courses in Linguistics. 

Jim had a keen interest in and gift for learning languages—studying German in high school, Japanese and Chinese in college, then Diné Bizaad (the Navajo language) and Spanish from teach-yourself study guides in the years after college, and finally Brazilian Portuguese online via Duo-Lingo. He began to draw and paint while in public school, an art he practiced throughout his life. Jim was particularly skilled at doing portraits in pencil, pastel, and oil crayon of friends and family; and landscapes based on Japanese and Chinese scrolls. Jim was always interested in Buddhism, studied a number of the major texts of the Buddhist traditions, and regarded himself as a Buddhist at heart, though his main practice was the Golden Rule—to treat everyone with respect and kindness, as he himself wished to be treated.  

Jim was a modest and self-effacing person—nobody knew, for example, that he had been made Phi Beta Kappa while at the University of Iowa, until his son came upon the PBK key and certificate of award, years later, in a carton of items in storage!  He was also very devoted to his family—as long as he was living in Iowa City, he regularly visited his mother’s mother, Grandma Sullivan, after her husband passed and she was alone. With his brothers Alan and Steve, as a boy Jim would also visit his Aunt Marie and Uncle Fred in their home outside Iowa City, and stay with them for a few weeks during the summer.

Jim worked his way through college and beyond with jobs at the University of Iowa Hospital and elsewhere, and he hitchhiked west and spent some time on the West Coast, living in San Francisco and working for the telephone company. Back in Iowa City, while managing a student boarding house, he met fellow tenant and graduate student, Ilene Gertman; they married and their son, Isaac Gertman, was born in 1981. Raised Roman Catholic, Jim converted to Judaism for the family’s sake, and they raised Isaac in the Jewish faith. Jim always told wonderful stories of spending time with his son, anecdotes about “baby Isaac’s” astute and amusing comments; and when Isaac reached his teens, father and son’s shared interest in popular music, punk rock concerts, Isaac’s DJ work, and later his career focus in graphic design.

When Isaac was small, the couple moved to Baltimore to be closer to Ilene’s mother; while there, Jim completed a paralegal certificate at Baltimore City Community College of the University of Maryland. For most of his career thereafter, he worked for major law firms, as a paralegal and legal analyst, in Columbus, Ohio (Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur), Minneapolis–Saint Paul (Lommen, Abdo, Cole, King & Stageberg), and Cleveland, Ohio (Jones Day), moving for the sake of Ilene’s career as an administrator for the Jewish Federation, a Jewish educational and cultural organization. After a few years in Cleveland, the couple separated, but continued to share co-parenting and later the responsibilities and expense of their son’s higher education at the Maryland Institute College of Art and Rhode Island School of Design. For a number of years, Jim lived on his own, engaging in his free time not only in art and language study, but also in administrative assistance for the Hospice of the Western Reserve and at homeless shelters and outreach missions in the Cleveland area, often employing his culinary skills to bake bread and cook breakfasts for dozens of unhoused citizens. While contemplating a move away from the “Rust Belt”—perhaps to the Southwest, New Mexico or Arizona—Jim began dating again, and in November 2003 met Carolyne Wright, a poet, writer and translator who was Visiting Poet and Professor of Creative Writing that year at the College of Wooster, south of Cleveland. 

The story of their meeting was legendary, part of the lore they shared with friends and family. Carolyne had driven up from Wooster to Cleveland to have lunch at a popular Coventry neighborhood restaurant, Tommy’s, with poets she had met at Cleveland State University a few years earlier. Next door to Tommy’s—in fact through an archway linking the two businesses—was the popular local bookstore, Mac’s Backs. Intrigued by the discovery of a local, indie bookstore, Carolyne went in to explore; seeing the book bag that Carolyne always carries with her, the gentleman at the front desk asked if she had come for the reading. 

“Which reading?” Carolyne asked. 

“A reading for peace,” he replied—this being the George Dubya Bush administration two years after 9-11, the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan, and the Iraq War of Choice Based on Lies.  

“Well, I am all for peace, and I have poetry with me,” Carolyne declared, and she promptly went downstairs to the basement reading space to join the circle of readers and supporters of peace. Among the readers was a man who looked to be about her own age, with an open, shining face, who read Japanese koans and other poems. The two got talking afterwards, discovered a good deal in common, exchanged email addresses, and soon began emailing, telephoning, and getting together in Wooster. 

It quickly became clear that this man, Jim, was smitten with Carolyne, and Carolyne was amazed, after years of disappointing dates and “bad boyfriends,” to meet a man whom she could TRUST, and who looked upon unexpected challenges as adventures—such as her Ford Escort’s battery dying just before Jim arrived for their first get-together on a late November Saturday afternoon in snowy Wooster!  (Happy ending—opening the hood, Jim discovered the battery to be corroded—oozing an acidic blue bubbling foam which he dubbed the “Blue Battery Alien,” and which he neutralized with an application of baking soda from Carolyne’s kitchen! Carolyne was able to start the car, and they drove around town, enjoying each other’s company, until they found a parts store with a battery to sell and install a few days later; then they went for an early dinner and hours more conversation. That afternoon, Carolyne gave Jim a copy of one of her books, which she signed with a dedication mentioning the car battery adventure; later she discovered a haiku that Jim had written in the book, on the page opposite her dedication: 

Blue foam alien

strangling the Escort’s life source,

vanquished by soda.

Carolyne loved Jim’s open, smiling face, his cheerfulness and his ironic, witty humor – to herself she said, “I like him, he’s silly!” Later, he would tell her that he was privately saying the same thing: “I like her, she’s silly!” And over the years, they would repeat this phrase about each other, to each other, in silly, squeaky voices! This was one example, even in those early days of their relationship, that “Fuzzy minds think alike!” 

Jim soon invited Carolyne to join him on his long-contemplated trip to the Southwest, to Albuquerque and historic sites in Santa Fe, Taos and Abiquiu. In February 2004, they enjoyed what they called their “premarital honeymoon.” Indeed, a few days into this trip, Jim did get down on his knees and ask Carolyne to marry him, and she promptly accepted! 

The engaged couple’s privacy was soon interrupted, though, by an unexpected interloper, on their visit to the Santa Fe Five & Dime. As they prowled the aisles of this vintage establishment, looking for modestly priced gift items, Carolyne was accosted by a squat, gray-brown plush “jackalope” moonlighting as a key-chain bauble, glowering at her from a display of budget souvenirs! This singular creature demanded to be sprung from her dreary shelf life and join Jim and Carolyne as their perpetual tutelary figure and self-appointed “problem child.” On their first visit to Taos the next day, this creature revealed her name to be “Mabel Dodge Jackaluhan” (after the Taos-based patroness of the arts and artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, D.H. Lawrence, and Ansel Adams). Upon visiting the Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos, Mabel the Jackalope attempted to claim it as her own!  Ever after, Carolyne and Jim loved to troll Mabel by calling her the most fun for $2.95 that they had ever acquired at a five and dime store; Mabel growled and fulminated.

Mabel would eventually be joined by other members of the plush jackalope family; and over the next few years, by a whole menagerie of other plush and plastic creatures—manatees, bottle-nose dolphins, humpback whales, harp and harbor seals, koalas, penguins, turtles, snails, frogs, an octopus, a squid, aardvarks, prairie dogs, mice, bunnies, kitty-cat hand puppets, a hedgehog and various lizards (some of them wiggly!), skinks, alligators, and Emily Bronte-Saurus. All of these creatures evolved names, individual histories, and voices, often squeaky! 

Returning to Ohio, Jim and Carolyne proceeded to plan a simple, low-cost wedding. The ceremony took place on April 29, 2004, in the Wayne County Courthouse in Wooster, with several of Carolyne’s students, friends and colleagues from the College of Wooster making up the wedding party, and “Mabel” the sole plush witness and guardian of the wedding cake! After exchanging vows in the judge’s chambers upstairs, Carolyne and Jim locked arms and did the Monty Python “Silly Walk” down the courthouse staircase to the unheard melodies of the Wedding March from Lohengrin. The cake and champagne reception took place that afternoon at Wooster’s downtown coffeehouse-bar and music club—a favorite hangout and gathering spot aptly named Seattle’s! Jim introduced Carolyne to amusing rituals involving first bites of wedding cake which each one of them fed to the other… and the groom smeared some of that first bite of cake on his bride’s face!

A month later, Carolyne moved to Cleveland to join Jim in a newly rented apartment in University Heights, where he continued to work for the law firm Jones Day, and (after the English Department learned of her move to the city) Carolyne was hired by Cleveland State U to teach Creative Writing and Poetry courses for 2004-2005. In November 2004, they drove from Cleveland through a harrowing ice storm to Iowa City for Thanksgiving at Jim’s mother’s house, where Carolyne met many of the Parrott clan, including at least three of Jim’s four younger brothers and their families. 

In March 2005, Carolyne was invited out to her native Seattle to teach a workshop at the community literary center, Richard Hugo House, and also to read and teach at the Poets in the Park Festival in nearby Redmond—both events on the same weekend.  With a number of vacation days to use or lose, Jim flew to Seattle with Carolyne and promptly fell in love with the Pacific Northwest, a region he had visited briefly decades before on his West Coast travels. Carolyne showed Jim around her childhood haunts in Seattle, and Jim was impressed with how Carolyne knew all the back ways and short cuts to get around her traffic-challenged hometown. They took the ferry to Port Townsend, famous for its Victorian homes and thriving arts community; they stayed a few nights in the famous Tides Motel and walked around historic Fort Worden—both locations where scenes from An Officer and a Gentleman had been filmed. Jim was thrilled to glimpse a huge bald eagle perched on a piling just outside their motel room window, and to have a coyote follow them as they walked around the WWII-era bunkers and gun emplacements of Fort Worden. Back in Seattle, while Carolyne taught at Hugo House, Jim visited Seattle Art Museum’s Asian Art Museum and walked through neighborhoods of historic Capitol Hill. At the Poets in the Park festival the next day, Carolyne conducted a workshop and gave a reading of her poetry, and Jim met many of the local poets and writers who would be friends of them both for the next nearly two decades.

By the time they flew back to Cleveland, Jim had changed his mind about moving to the Southwest, and was now set on relocation to Seattle. “After all, it’s your home!” he exclaimed to Carolyne. “You know the city!” Carolyne would have been okay with staying in Cleveland—a city new to her—but she was happy that Jim was charmed with Seattle, and she was delighted to see Jim in action, as he started to plan their move with his characteristic enterprise and focus, and with Carolyne’s advice and suggestions. Jim looked on the internet for apartments for rent; Carolyne gave her evaluation of the advantages of each neighborhood; they eventually decided on a condo for rent in North Seattle, one zip code north of where Carolyne grew up! In July 2005, with all their belongings packed in a moving van, Jim and Carolyne departed Cleveland and drove across country, stopping along the way to visit Jim’s Mom in Iowa City. 

Once in Seattle, they settled in—Jim found short-term paralegal jobs at law firms, and soon landed a long-term position at a financial services company; Carolyne taught poetry, translation and nonfiction writing for Hugo House and also for a new, low-residency Master of Fine Arts program that held August and January residencies on beautiful, semi-rural Whidbey Island. Jim usually drove with Carolyne to these residencies and stayed for a couple of days, walking the beaches and visiting shops in Coupeville—on his own and with Carolyne when she was free from her faculty duties—before returning to his job in Seattle. The couple enjoyed Seattle arts, culture and cuisine—visiting museums and galleries, attending readings at bookstores (often readings given by Carolyne), joining the Seattle Art Museum for a few years, at times attending St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral (Carolyne’s childhood church), and trying out many of the city’s Thai, Chinese, Indian, Brazilian and Northwest seafood restaurants. They also contributed to several nonprofit organizations dedicated to the arts, the environment, social justice and human rights. 

Jim had always stayed fit by walking, practicing Tai Chi, and working out at gyms and fitness clubs wherever he lived. After their first few years in Seattle, a new 24-Hour Fitness opened not far from them, and Jim and Carolyne acquired a family membership. Carolyne soon discovered Zumba classes there, taught by a Brazilian instructor from the state of Bahia. Having spent time in Salvador, Bahia, a few decades earlier, Carolyne had fallen in love with that part of Brazil, and still could speak a bit of Portuguese; soon she was attending all of Daniel’s Zumba classes at 24-Hour. Before long, Jim joined in, and Daniel was glad to see another male in the class. Jim felt welcomed, began learning a little Portuguese, and he even developed a few routines with Carolyne for some of the Zumba tunes—routines they practiced in their kitchen at home!— to the delight of other class members. Daniel, his American wife Aileen, Jim and Carolyne became great friends; and Carolyne also did Brazilian dance at Daniel and Aileen’s studio, with Jim joining in at times as well. And over the next several years, they attended (and participated in) dance celebrations at Carnaval time and during other events such as Brasilfest, the World Rhythm Festival, and Folklife, many of these taking place at Seattle’s historic Seattle Center. Jim and Carolyne were members of a warm and affectionate “Dance Family” revolving around Daniel, Aileen and their studio, Bahia in Motion. Jim even drew portraits of Daniel and Aileen, and gifted the originals to them, keeping full-size photocopies for his portfolio. 

Jim and Carolyne flew back to Iowa a number of times to visit Jim’s Mom and other family members, and to attend the wedding of Jim’s son Isaac in 2013. Often in connection with writers’ and translators’ residencies and conferences where Carolyne was presenting, Jim and Carolyne traveled to Las Vegas and Bryce Canyon, Mount St. Helens, the Olympic Peninsula and Hurricane Ridge, Yellowstone Park, Denver and Boulder, Victoria, BC, and Raleigh, North Carolina. They made a couple of return visits to Santa Fe and Taos, and a number of shorter trips to writers’ conferences in Portland and on the Oregon Coast, in northern California, in central and eastern Washington, the Methow Valley, and on Orcas and Lopez Islands in the San Juans—locations where Carolyne taught on a number of occasions, and where Jim could take walks, visit shops and even sit in on Carolyne’s classes. In 2010, Carolyne was invited to join a peer workshop, the Greenwood Poets (originally based at the Greenwood Senior Center), who met once a week to share and critique each other’s work. Jim sometimes joined in and showed poems of his own to the group. Jim continued to draw portraits and landscapes and, inspired by Carolyne’s poetry readings, workshops, and each new book she published (a total of seven new books during their years together), he even began publishing poetry. One anthology, Here, There, and Everywhere, published by the Redmond Association of Spokenword, included a poem of Jim’s; and at the reading to celebrate this publication, Jim read his poem, “Tornado—Iowa Acrostic,” with such perfect comic timing that he brought down the house! He reprised this triumph in a few more readings, and became known as the mild-mannered poet with deadpan delivery!  But Jim was never keen for a “career” as a poet or performer—he wrote for the same reason that he drew: he simply enjoyed the creative act, the celebration of life that it enhanced. Over the years, Jim created a manuscript of a few dozen poems, to which Carolyne gave the title, Everywhere I Went, It Looked like Home, based on images that Jim described to her about a dream he had had. 

From the time they moved in, during the last week of July 2005, Jim and Carolyne were active in the life of their Seattle condo community, Greentree Village, getting to know many of their neighbors in the complex, doing volunteer gardening (especially planting of native ferns and red cedar seedlings in the garden beds), attending board meetings and community and holiday parties. After nearly a decade as renters, and as the couple who owned their unit kept raising the rent, Carolyne and Jim decided to buy a condo, whereupon the owners of their unit offered it to them, so Jim and Carolyne proceeded to buy this rented condo out from under themselves! One of Carolyne’s recent low-residency writing program students, a realtor, served as their buyer’s agent. New owner Jim came to be known as the neighbor who performed recycling dumpster heroism, by breaking up and flattening inconsiderate residents’ boxes to make enough room for others’ recyclables; and new owner Carolyne was persuaded to join the condo board and get more involved in the governance of the Greentree community, with Jim advising her!

In 2016, Carolyne began taking classes in Portuguese at the U of Washington, and after a few years, she applied for and was honored to receive a two-month residency fellowship to the Instituto Sacatar in Bahia, Brazil, where her Portuguese would improve greatly. From Seattle, Jim followed her activities and discoveries via email and (for her next visit to Bahia for one month in 2019 with Bahia in Motion) via Skype. Jim also made some great Bahian friends through Carolyne—Manu, a young post-doctoral scholar of Brazilian film who was in residence at the U of Washington-Seattle for a year, with whom Carolyne worked on translation projects related to the work of both of them; and her husband Paulo, a scriptwriter and producer for educational television in Rio de Janeiro, who came to visit Manu for two weeks during the winter break and then at the end of Manu’s stay in July 2019. Jim and Paulo hit it off, even though Paulo spoke very little English and Jim a smattering of Portuguese. This lively and intelligent young couple with their affection toward Jim and Carolyne, helped make Brazil a real place for Jim, and Manu and Paulo invited them both to visit them in Rio!

Inspired by Carolyne and these new Bahian friends, Jim first learned Portuguese from self-study books, but then began to study online via Duo-Lingo; and from then on he spent several hours a day completing the lessons, and also doing internet research on Brazilian and especially Bahian and Afro-Brazilian history, customs, and expressions. Jim and Carolyne watched Brazilian films and television series available online, and carried on conversation together at home, on their walks, and over meals when they went out to eat. Jim had retired in early 2017 and was thoroughly enjoying his retirement—reading, drawing, cooking, Zumba, language study, travel—and by now he was able to speak Portuguese with Manu and Paulo as well as with Carolyne! Carolyne also applied for a four-month Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to Bahia; in early 2020, she received this grant, and the plan was that Jim would accompany her, with the Fulbright’s allowance for family member’s travel and living. 

But the Covid-19 pandemic was spreading by then—late 2019 and early 2020—and in-person classes and most events in public spaces were closing down. The Fulbright program was also put on hiatus. Jim and Carolyne were fine with the world closing down – they were happily safe with each other for companionship, they walked or drove to stores for food and other essential items, watched films on Netflix at home, went to their favorite restaurants to get take-out, and walked in parks and other favorite places in Seattle for exercise and to visit great blue heron rookeries, osprey nests, and vistas of the Salish Sea. Within a few months, their in-person classes—suspended at the start of Covid—had moved online, and hardly missing a beat, Jim and Carolyne resumed dancing, learning Portuguese, and (Carolyne) teaching writing and giving readings via Zoom. 

However, during that same period—late 2019 and early 2020—Jim began to experience symptoms of what turned out to be Parkinson's. Carolyne was worried and encouraged him to make an appointment right away with their primary care physician to get this checked and treated right away; but Jim resisted, insisting that nothing was the matter. Finally, in August 2020, Jim went to regular appointments scheduled the previous year, with their PCP, Jim’s cardiologist, and the neurologist to whom Jim was referred. They all diagnosed Parkinson’s, Jim accepted this, and as soon as he began to take the prescribed medications, attend physical and speech therapy sessions and at home do the prescribed Parkinson’s exercises (very similar to the Tai Chi he had practiced over the years), he was back to his “old self” again—alert, balanced, able to speak clearly and do almost all of his other favorite activities. Jim took to the therapy and exercises with his characteristic focus and enthusiasm; he even wrote new poems inspired by the speech therapy! Carolyne did the Tai Chi-like exercises with Jim every evening, and went with him to therapy sessions so that she could learn more about this condition, how to treat it, and how to be helpful as the spouse of a person with Parkinson’s. 

In early 2021, when Covid vaccines became available, Jim and Carolyne got their first series of shots, then subsequent boosters over the next several months. In early 2022, as public spaces re-opened, the Fulbright program resumed; but Jim did not feel ready to spend four months in Brazil, so Carolyne negotiated for a “Flex” grant, to divide the grant into two two-month segments, with the first to occur in 2022 and the second (with Jim accompanying her) in 2023. Jim was much relieved with this arrangement, so Carolyne spent June and July 2022 in Salvador, Bahia, and Jim enjoyed the summer in Seattle, speaking with Carolyne every other evening via Zoom, continuing to study Portuguese, take walks, do his Parkinson’s therapy exercises, work out at the recently re-opened 24-Hour Fitness, and interact with neighbors in their Greentree Village condo community. 

Carolyne returned to Seattle in early August, and the couple spent a happy fall season, enjoying their usual activities and beginning to plan for the Fulbright trip for both of them to Bahia in 2023.  But on Christmas Eve, while Carolyne was in the bedroom taking a fitful nap, Jim climbed up on the kitchen stepladder to put something away in a high cabinet. Usually he made sure Carolyne was with him when he climbed the stepladder to change a lightbulb or reached other high places, and he always came up and stood behind her with hands on her waist when she used the stepladder. But this time, perhaps not wanting to wake Carolyne, Jim climbed the stepladder alone, and when he stepped back, he missed the lower step and fell, fracturing his left hip. 

After hip repair surgery, Jim spent eleven days in the hospital, and in early January 2023 he was moved to a skilled nursing center close to home. He made great progress there in strength, mobility, and balance while learning to use a walker. Carolyne spent hours in the afternoon and evening with him, observing and helping with his therapy and lessons in standing, sitting, negotiating stairs, getting in and out of cars, and other activities that had never required so much thought, care, and planning before! In late January, Jim was discharged and came home; and soon home health therapists—physical, occupational and speech—were providing therapy and rehab, and Carolyne was home caregiver.  But after several days, Jim grew restless and began trying to be “independent,” moving around in their condo at night (while Carolyne slept) without support of his walker—the walker’s creaking would wake her up, and then she would stop him from trying to walk unsupported. Jim fell several more times over the next few weeks, damaging the first prosthesis, and he was struggling with pain and increased Parkinson’s symptoms. After the second post-op appointment, the surgeon, alarmed at the damage to that prosthesis, sent him straight back to the hospital for a hip replacement. 

The second surgery went well, but the hospital social worker had him discharged too quickly, over the protests of both Jim and Carolyne; he was sent back to the earlier SNF, where he was put in an isolated room where staff did not see the call light above the door of his room and he got up, tried to walk and fell. Carolyne fiercely advocated with every single person on the management team of that SNF, for a room on a public hallway for Jim, where he could see and be seen by staff, feel safe, and not attempt to get up and then fall. But by the time he was finally moved to a better room, he had fallen a second time two days later; his new hip replacement was dislocated, and he went back to the hospital the next day for the third surgery. Carolyne became Tiger Wife, making sure that Jim remained in the hospital until she could locate another SNF that would keep Jim safe, and resisting all attempts to discharge him in a few days.

Ultimately, Jim spent five months in another skilled nursing facility close to home, where he was healing slowly but surely, doing physical and occupational therapy every day, having interesting conversations with the caring and friendly aides and nurses from many different backgrounds and origins, and participating in some social and cultural activities for residents. Carolyne was with him every day there, often till midnight, and she and Jim both felt encouraged by his hope-inspiring improvements. He came home in late September, 2023, for a wonderful two and a half months, and with more home health therapy and Carolyne’s caregiving and encouragement, Jim was continuing to improve in strength, balance and ability to enjoy life. Several times during this period, Jim told Carolyne that even though the months after his hip fracture had been difficult for both of them, they were closer than ever as friends and as a couple. Carolyne agreed wholeheartedly. “We’re a team,” they told each other, and the goal was to help Jim heal. They both were cautiously optimistic about his prospects, and in an early December Christmas card to his Mom (95 years old and still living in the house in Iowa City where she had raised her five boys!), Jim even wrote that he was hoping to be able to travel again in the future. 

But on Dec. 14th, after a few cheerful conversations with Carolyne and a late-night snack, Jim suffered a stroke and was rushed to Harborview Medical Center. It turned out to be a severe stroke from which he was not going to recover, so on Jan. 7, he went on Comfort Care, per his wishes and the provisions in his and Carolyne’s will. Jim’s son Isaac visited twice from New York City in the last days, likewise best brother Steve and Steve’s daughter, Jim’s niece Carmen. Carolyne was with Jim all day every day, and stayed with him day and night for the final week. Carolyne and Jim reaffirmed their marriage vows on the 8th, in his room, with one of the spiritual care team and three friends. Jim Parrott passed into the Light on Sunday, Jan. 14th, very peacefully, with Carolyne by his side.

In lieu of flowers, those who wish may make a donation in Jim’s name (Jim Parrott or James J. Parrott) to their preferred nonprofit organization that supports the arts, the environment, social justice or human rights.


I was introduced to Jim, or as he told me "Fritz." It was German class 1968 and for the next 3 years Fritz and I sat next to each other at school and worked alongside each other at the U of I hospital. In the spring of 1971 I last saw Fritz at the union bldg. He was going to major in foreign language and become a translator. Didn't know it at the time but those 3 years of having known Fritz would be a guide for me in life. Love you Fritz. Axel

Gary Graybeal

A well lived life, thanks for telling it! Love from Karen & Alan

Karen Parrott

Oh Carolyne, I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing a portion of your Jim’s life - such a rich and love filled
life. And the pictures, through time, were marvelous. Sending much love your way.

Joan McBride

I am so sorry to hear of Jim's passing. What a lovely, loving, interesting man.

Helen Cheek

Silly & profound, what a mensch. So sorry for your loss, he will never be lost to your heart. Love, Michael & Carol

Michael Trenga-Schein

Blessings and i am sorry for your loss. Lothar and i had our honeymoon in ojo caliente and taos june-july 2004. We both met wonderful men. Your narrative on your life love is inspiring and i know u lived your own paradise together. Love

Linda Troeller

I’m so sorry for your loss Carolyne, but what a life you two shared. I felt that love in every word.

Kevin Patrick Sullivan

I'm so saddened by this news, Carolyne. I knew there was profound love between you two, and this beautiful tribute expresses it so well. Much love, Jane

Jane Alynn

No truer soul mates than you and Jim as witnessed by this exquisite compressed memoir of Jim's life. I will never forget your devotion and care for Jim in these post-COVIC (not really) years. Any time we spent together in person or online we always parted with you talking gleefully about returning to Jim. And I will never forget you Zooming from Jim's room in these past few months. Your devotion to Jim only matched by your intertwining devotion to poetry and language. I know moving through grief is challenging, and it is a challenge that you will meet with love, care, and devotion to Jim's life and memories with you. He is immortal in my eyes because of you.

Sandy Yannone

Thank you, Carolyne, for letting me join you, through this narrative, in your lives together! I am happy for the good times you had, and the few little times I had with the two of you, and so sorry for the hard times that followed for him, and you. But how lucky you were to have found one another! And, somehow, he will be with you always. Sending you love.

Joan Dobbie

Beautiful stories. Thanks for sharing so much of the love. Be well. Heal. Hugs....

Christopher Jarmick

Joy flows through your devotion - thank you for your kindness to share with us the loving couple you will always remain to one another - I truly appreciate reading this love story and consider my own good fortune that is deepened by your sharing. Best to you, Denise Calvetti Michaels

I feel I know Jim so well, although I never met him. Your poems and your narrative here have kept him still with the living, who can still appreciate who he is and was. I feel honored to have met him through poetry and story telling, and I very much regret the loss of a still living, funny loving Jim in your life.

Patricia Lines

Nuevas condolencias Carolyne, tiempos difíciles para ti y lo fueron al final para Jim, un caballero siempre, tranquilo e inteligente. Tu compañero que seguirá espiritualmente contigo. Que bueno lo escrito por ti, muy apreciado y querido Jim,. Con cariño, Eugenia Keyser y Familia.

What a warm and wonderful tribute, Carolyne!
I had the privilege of meeting Jim only once, at a Hugo House poetry event at our house, with the class you taught, and I definitely got the impression that he was an exceptional person.
Best to you,
Dick Gemperle

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