Cover photo for Carl Franklin Parrish's Obituary
Carl Franklin Parrish Profile Photo

Carl Franklin Parrish

August 28, 1949 — March 9, 2020

Silas Creek Chapel

Carl Franklin Parrish

Carl Franklin Parrish, 70, passed away unexpectedly at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center on March 9, 2020.  Carl was born on August 28, 1949, in Oak Hill, WV, the son of Charles L. Todd and Mary Frances Thurbon Todd. Carl and his sister, Melodie, were later adopted by their step-father, Max Parrish.  He was preceded in death by his mother, Mary Thurbon Parrish and his father, Max A. Parrish.  Carl is survived by his two sons, Frank (Christine) and Brad, both of Winston-Salem, NC; sister, Melodie Parrish of Durham, NC; niece, Amy Files Fuqua (Jonathan) of Durham; grandsons, Bradley Parrish, Duncan Smits, Blake Smits, Cooper Smits; and grandnephew, Liam Fuqua.  During Carl’s early years, Max was a ticket maker and a sales supervisor during tobacco market season and the family moved many times before finally settling permanently in Durham, NC. Carl was a proud graduate of Durham High School, Class of ‘67.  He earned a BSBA degree from East Carolina University in 1971. His interest in becoming an attorney began when he registered for a Business Law class taught by Dr. Wally Snyder his senior year. He found the subject fascinating and when Dr. Snyder invited his old friend, Pasco Bowman, Dean of Wake Forest Law School, to visit Greenville and to speak to his class, Carl was among several of Professor Snyder’s top students that were invited to a dinner party in Dean Bowman’s honor that evening. The connection with the dean that night helped convince Carl that law school was exactly where he needed to be. He applied and was accepted. He graduated from WFU School of Law, class of ‘74.  While studying for the bar exam that summer, Carl was hired as an associate by Harrell Powell (Powell & Powell, Attorneys at Law).  Shortly thereafter, Harrell Powell was asked to join the law firm of White & Crumpler as a partner. Powell’s acceptance of the offer was contingent upon Carl being hired as an associate - an experience that gave Carl invaluable insight into the world of criminal law.  Several years later, Carl and colleague Melvin Wright formed Wright & Parrish, Attorneys at Law. Their first office was in a tiny space across from the courthouse behind the Jolly House - a popular little restaurant frequented by local courthouse personnel!  Over the years, the firm expanded their practice to include many area attorneys, Bill Rabil, Lawson Newton, Gary Tash, Chuck Alexander, Steve Smith, Dick Ramsey, all of whom were former law partners of Carl’s. He mentored many newly licensed attorneys and actively supported the Wake Forest Law School as well as the Demon Deacon sports programs as an enthusiastic member of the Deacon Club.  Carl had a quick wit, creative mind, and fierce determination that he used very effectively to the benefit of his clients. He had many friends and was loved for his big heart and generous spirit.  The following are dates of admittance to practice for Carl: State of NC, September 1, 1974; NC State Supreme Court, September 1, 1971; US District Court, November 4, 1974; US Court of Appeals, March 30 1984; US Supreme Court, May 15, 1996.  Carl had numerous experiences and accomplishments throughout his life including: one of the attorneys for the Police Benevolent Association for several years; Presented Continuing Legal Education seminars through the North Carolina State Bar;  Adjunct Law Professor at Wake Forest University and active in the Clinical Program;  Former Professor at Forsyth Community College;  Primary drafter for the Attorney/Client Fee Dispute Resolution for the North Carolina;  State Bar and Chairman of the Review Panel for all Complaints for two years thereafter; Member of Ducks Unlimited.  He received many awards:  On July 29, 2014, he received the highest civilian award from the North Carolina Troopers Association for all his help and support; the Administrative/Leadership Award from the Northwest NC Chapter of the American Red Cross. He was recognized in 2014 by the Northwest NC Chapter of the American Red Cross with the Community Silver Ready 365 Award.  He also received the Harvey Lupton Criminal Defense Award in December 2017.  Carl had many professional associations including: North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers, North Carolina Bar Association, and Forsyth County Criminal Defense Trial Lawyers Association.  Those around him often heard him lamenting that he had been working on “getting used” to the idea of retirement after closing his practice in late 2017. Hardest to give up perhaps was his Friday noon-time “Ask the Lawyer” segment on WXII Channel 12.  He loved sharing legal topic information with the public and visiting with the many friends he had made at the station over the span of 24 years (1994-2018). Retirement wasn’t an easy fit for Carl.  Following retirement his courthouse friends would sometimes spot him downtown checking in. The practice of law was a lifelong love that he found very difficult to give up.  In recent weeks, his health began to decline noticeably. He will be missed by family and friends alike - RIP, Carl Parrish.  Services for Carl have been postponed.  The family will reschedule services to celebrate his life at a later date.  Donations may be made in memory of Carl Parrish to the American Red Cross Greater Carolinas Region, 2425 Park Rd., Charlotte, NC 28203.  Online condolences may be made at

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Past Services

Celebration of Life at a later date

Silas Creek Chapel - Hayworth-Miller Funeral Homes & Crematory


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