Randal's Story

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Randal Phares Parson, 62, of Ennis, Montana, died December 17, 2017. He was born on September 24, 1955 to Phares and Dale Parson in Dalton, Georgia.
Randy graduated from West Georgia College in 1977 with a Bachelor's degree in American History/Political Science, and in 1982 with a Master's degree in American History/Political Science. Randy was a history and science teacher and coach for over 20 years, and taught in Whitfield and Murray County schools. He eventually earned his Educational Specialist degree in 1999 from Lincoln Memorial University, and became assistant principal at Gilmer County Middle School in 2000. Randy spent the next eleven years as an administrator in Gilmer County, retiring in 2011 as superintendent of schools.
Randy spent six years in Germany working for the Department of Defense Dependent Schools. While there, he taught science and coordinated outdoor adventures for middle and high school students, as well as soldiers and teachers.
After retiring, Randy worked as a Park Ranger at Yellowstone National Park for several seasons, and spent the rest of the year with his wife, Kim, traveling, and with his children and granddaughter.
Randy was an avid outdoorsman who loved hiking, especially the Appalachian Trail. He was also instrumental in the cave conservation in the southeast, and instilled a love of science, the outdoors, and spelunking in all he knew. Some of his greatest memories were the trips he facilitated for teachers and students; sometimes they explored caves in the southeast, and several times he took groups of high school students to the West to explore and learn about national parks. He also spent a summer at the University of California Berkeley researching earthquake activity along the San Andreas Fault, and in Costa Rica researching volcanoes.
Randy is survived by his wife, Kim, of Ennis, Montana; his children, Brittany (Jason) Sillstrop (Hamilton, MT), Nikolas (Julie) Parson (New Orleans, LA), and Kaitlin (Nick) McCleave (Raleigh, NC); his grandchildren, Olivia Stanton and Liam McCleave; his parents, Phares and Dale Parson (Dalton, GA); his brother Sandy (Michelle) Parson (Cohutta, GA); and sister Cindy (Paul) Peel (Chatsworth, GA), as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and grand-nieces and nephews. He is also survived by numerous life-long friends, especially George and Sharon Sanders, of Ellijay, and Mike and Donna Wilburn, of Chatsworth. Randy is also survived by his beloved dog, Tupelo, who he loved to walk every day.
Randy was a quiet man with a dry sense of humor who was loved by many people; he was always searching for adventure and had a strong desire to continue to learn, which he passed on to his children and grandchildren.
Services for Randy will follow at a later date, as determined by his family, and will be posted in the newspaper at that time.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy or the Southeastern Cave Conservancy in his name.
Published on December 31, 2017
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