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HE ENJOYED SIMPLE PLEASURES WITH FAMILY

Ice cream, softball and ribbons from the Special Olympics brought special memories.

Sweets were involved any time Carol Schroeder visited her brother David.

Most of the time they would head out to Dairy Queen for a chocolate-covered ice cream sundae. When he couldn't leave the house, she would bring cake and ice cream to him.

"We'd just have a little party of our own," Schroeder said. Each time she would remind her youngest brother of how much she loved him.

There haven't been any parties lately, and Schroeder knows there won't be any more. After many months of declining health, David A. Parr died of congestive heart failure last week at the age of 59.

Mr. Parr was born in 1951, the youngest of seven children - three girls and four boys born in Galion, Ohio, a little town about an hour north of Columbus.

Schroeder said she and the others kept a watchful eye on the youngest boy, who was born with Down syndrome.

"You always look out for the baby," she said.

When his parents moved to Aripeka in 1971, Mr. Parr came with them.

He started competing with the Special Olympics in his early 20s, joining a softball team run by the organization. Mr. Parr loved softball because of his memories of playing catch in the back yard with his brother Francis as a child.

Mr. Parr also played on a bowling team with the Special Olympics and loved to fish, although softball was his favorite sport by far, Schroeder said. He was proud of the many medals and ribbons won from competing in the Special Olympics through the years.

Sometimes after a trip to Dairy Queen, the siblings would go out to the river, and Schroeder would sit with Mr. Parr and talk as he fished.

Mr. Parr loved being around his family more than anything else.

"Wherever family was, he was happy," Schroeder said.

Mr. Parr lived with his parents most of his life until his brother Francis began battling cancer and required additional care of his own. The family helped Mr. Parr move into a group home to ensure he was well cared for.

He moved first to a home in Tampa but wasn't very happy there, Schroeder said. Mr. Parr was much happier in the two other homes he lived in afterward. He had many friends at his last home in Hudson.

Schroeder and Mr. Parr grew even closer after the deaths of their parents and two brothers. By then they were the only two in the family who were still living in Florida.

"I wanted him to always know that there was a family member that really loved him and cared about him," she said.

"He was such a loving brother."

Sara Gregory can be reached at (727) 893-8785 or sgregory@sptimes.com.

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BIOGRAPHY

David A. Parr

Born: May, 9, 1951

Died: July 2, 2010

Survivors: Brother Eldon Parr Jr.; and sisters Carol Schroeder, Bonnie Scott and Sharon Coleman.

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