Garry Michael Parrish
Garry Parrish
Garry Michael Parrish

November 6, 1946 - January 8, 2020
Born in Des Moines, Iowa
Resided in Pleasant Hill, Iowa
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Garry Michael Parrish was born on November 6, 1946 to Robert and Madeline Parrish in Des Moines, IA. After a few years living in Algona, IA, the family settled back in Des Moines, where he attended Franklin Jr. High. It was during this time at West Side Church of Christ where he accepted Jesus as his personal Savior. Garry attended North High school where he excelled in sports, playing football, baseball, track and his favorite (until he had grandkids and they became his favorite), basketball. He lettered in all sports and was one of the high scorers on the basketball team during his years at North. He received a full-ride scholarship to Central College in Pella to play basketball for the Dutch but chose instead to attend Lincoln Christian College to study Ministry.

It was there, he met the love of his life, Evelyn Arvetta Gardner and after a short time of courting, he asked her to marry him (and this is the TRUE story, contrary to what Garry would tell you, she did NOT ask him to marry her!)

When he realized God had not called him to the ministry, he left college after his junior year. He and Arvetta were married June 8, 1968 and moved to Des Moines where he began working for his uncle painting houses. Not long after, Garry joined the United States Postal Service from which he retired after 33 years in at the age of 55.

Garry and Arvetta were blessed with two children, David and Diane. After several years in Des Moines, the family moved to an acreage in Runnells, Iowa. Garry loved working with his hands and built his own decks, lawn furniture and other items out of wood. He had a large garden and loved to work in the yard, and the neighbors said the lawn looked like a golf course, so he mowed a putting green and chipping area and planted many trees.

He loved going to garage sales and finding Boxer dog figurines of all shapes and sizes, we have around 100 (complimentary boxer dog gift bags available at the end of the service), roll-top desks of various size and every clock he could find! He also loved fishing with the family, going to Big Creek Lake and Lake Okoboji and made a few trips to Lake Mille Lac, MN and Canada with friends. His passion for golf later replaced that of fishing and he enjoyed golfing several times each week in Des Moines and the surrounding area.

After many years in Runnells, they moved to Pleasant Hill, IA.

Upon his retirement, Garry and Arvetta purchased a vacation home in Warsaw, MO in 2007, and became active in the Warsaw First Baptist Church.

Garry doted on his grandchildren every day of their lives. When Kailee was a baby and very sick, he rocked her all day, watching every Barney video we had, commenting that we’d have to get new ones, he’d seen all we had at least 3 times! He enjoyed finding unique ways to give them money when their father objected to him always doing so. Girls would receive a dollar if Grandpa says you have pretty hair; Dillon - $20.00 if you vacuum the living room, and so on. From tying Payton’s Night-Night blanket to the ceiling fan in the kitchen where she could watch it go around and round and wasn’t able to reach it. (Yes, he did get it down for her after a few spins!) to exaggerating on his family history for Kendal’s school assignment, which did get her an A due to the amount of details he told her, true or not! Dillon and grandpa loved playing trash can basketball in the living room and grandpa would tell Dillon, his shots didn’t count when he made one because conveniently, grandpa wasn’t looking. He loved teasing his grandchildren and hearing them laugh. Are you starting to see a pattern here?? He was quite an ornery fella. But the thing he told them often, was each one of them was his favorite. And lately, he’d say it in front of the others, just to see their reaction.

“Mr. Christian” as he was known by his co-workers at the USPS, faithfully served his Lord. Whether it was as the head of Building & Maintenance at their church in Warsaw MO., instituting a meals & calling ministry to shut-ins and those in the hospital, sharing devotions at the Men’s Breakfast on Monday’s and Friday’s at the two churches they attended, driving the church bus for the Kids for Christ Music & more program, he loved doing things for others and leading them to the church.

Upon returning to Pleasant Hill in 2011, Gary & Arvetta attended Grace Community Church where he became a Deacon & continued his calling ministry. He loved helping people and would drop everything to be of service to someone in need, no matter the time of day or week.

Garry was preceded in death by his parents; grandparents; sister, Gay Ann Hickman; brother, Bob Parrish; parents-in-law, Francis & Evelyn Gardner; sister-in-law, Liz Moffat, and several aunts and uncles. He is survived by his loving wife Arvetta; children, David Parrish and Diane (Jim) O’Brien; sister, Lynn Parrish (Jim Hoekstra); sisters & brothers-in-law, Mary & Carl Freeman and Dan & Sharon Gardner; brothers-in-law, Steve Gardner and Bob Moffat; grandchildren, Kailee, Kendal, Payton & Dillon O’Brien; nieces, Stephanie Little, Cindy Freeman, Anissa Eve and Danielle Gardner; nephews, James Parrish, Leif Silver, Bryan Hayhoe, Brian Freeman, Adam, Anders & Adrian Gardner; great-nieces, Allison Lopez, Emma, Violet & Lily Freeman and great-nephews, Robbie & Jordan Reed.

Gary lived a full life and was surrounded by his loving family at the time of his passing on January 8, 2020. His greatest desire is that everyone accept the free-gift of Salvation offered by Jesus Christ. He knew, because he’d accepted that gift, he would be with his Savior in Heaven upon his death. We plan to meet him there one day.

A memorial service will be held at 11 am, Saturday, January 18, 2020 at Galilee Baptist Church in Des Moines. Visitation will begin one hour prior to the service at the church. For additional information and online condolences please visit Memorial contributions may be directed to IOWA Service Dogs. The Family would like to extend a special thank you to East Des Moines DaVita Dialysis, Pleasant Hill First Responders and Avalon Hospice for their care and compassion.

Arrangements by Iles Grandview Park Funeral Home.





Galilee Baptist Church
2208 Des Moines Street
Des Moines, IA US 50317
Saturday, January 18, 2020
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Galilee Baptist Church
2208 Des Moines Street
Des Moines, IA US 50317
Saturday, January 18, 2020
11:00 AM