Dr. John “Jack” Clayton Parry was born in Windsor on the 18th of June, 1922, to John Parry and the former Rebecca L’Anson. Dr. Parry had 2 older brothers and 2 younger sisters. He attended General Brock Public School and Sandwich (Forester) Collegiate Institute. He was involved in track and field, where he set many long standing Ontario records in the long jump and the 100 and 220 yard dash. He also played football and baseball. He was scouted to play for the Cleveland Indians baseball team before World War II broke out. Instead of playing professional baseball, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force where he trained as a fighter pilot. Due to a shortage of bomber pilots, when he was assigned to active duty overseas and he piloted a Lancaster Bomber. On one of the thirty-eight missions Dr. Parry piloted, his aircraft was struck after a plane in his squadron dropped a bomb that struck and damaged the wing on his plane. Dr. Parry piloted his aircraft back to the base and landed it safely, saving the lives of all the men on board. For his extraordinary actions in safely landing the aircraft, Dr. Parry was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery beyond the call of duty. During his time in the Royal Canadian Air Force, Dr. Parry was the starting half-back for the RCAF Hurricanes who won the Grey Cup in 1942.
Dr. Parry enrolled in the medical program at the University of Western Ontario in January of 1946. While completing his studies, he was active in athletics. Dr. Parry served as Captain of the 1948 Western Mustang champion football team and he was a member of the 1948 relay track team, which set national records in the 880 yard race and the one mile relay event. He set a Canadian record in the 100 yard event. In 1948 for his athletic endeavours, Dr. Parry was awarded: the McCullach Trophy as the Most Valuable Player of the football team, the Dr. Claude Brown Trophy for Western’s top male athlete, and the J.W. Davies Trophy for Canada’s most outstanding male track athlete.
Also in 1948, Dr. Parry earned a spot on the Canadian Olympic Track team; however, an injury prevented him from competing. After completing university, Dr. Parry was offered a chance to play for the Canadian Football league, which he declined.
Graduating with a medical degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1950, Dr. Parry completed an internship at Victoria Hospital in Family Medicine. He furthered his studies at the Detroit Receiving Hospital where he completed his residency in anesthesia.
Moving to Chatham in 1956, Dr. Parry was Chatham’s first formally trained anesthesiologist. He served as Chief of Anesthesia at the Public General Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Dr. Parry reluctantly retired from medicine in 1988 due to ill health. He always said that it was a privilege to be able to do the kind of work that he did. He maintained an interest in athletics – golfing or jogging in his spare time. He was selected as a Charter Member of the University of Western Ontario’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1978, and he was given the same honour in the City of Windsor’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1984. He also became a member of the Western Wall of Fame for Outstanding Athletes in 2005.
Dr. Parry died on the 14th of December, 1990. He was survived by his wife Ann (Huffman) and four children, Jann, Jay, Jill and John, as well as eleven granchildren. To recognize athletic accomplishments, high academic standing, leadership skills, sportsmanship and contribution to the community, a scholarship in Dr. Parry’s Name is awarded annually to two area students.