Joan Fidler Parsons

Oct. 7, 1928 - May 8, 2019

Joan Fidler Parsons, of Spring Hill, Tennessee, formerly of Waco, Texas, died peacefully Wednesday, May 8, 2019, after a recent hospitalization. A memorial service will be held at 3:30 p.m., Saturday, May 25, at Lake Shore Baptist Church in Waco.

Joan affectionately known as "Bammaw" to her family and close friends, was born October 7, 1928 in Parkersburg, West Virginia, to Leland and Belva Fidler. In 1936, the family moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where her father took a position with Standard Oil (Exxon). She graduated from Louisiana State University in 1949 with a Bachelor's degree in Commerce. While there she met James W. "Jim" Parsons, Jr.; they married on September 7, 1948.

After Jim completed his doctorate at LSU and following the birth of their first son, Gregg, in 1954, the Parsons moved to Waco, where he began his 40-year career as a Professor in Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business. Joan spent her time and energy raising their three busy sons-Jack, born in 1957, and Joe who came along in 1961. She spent many years ferrying them back and forth to sports events-especially baseball- and encouraging their interests, including welcoming Jack's drums into the house. Joan's welcoming nature made their home a favorite hangout for the boys' friends. The family loved to travel, especially on summer trips to Baton Rouge in the station wagon to spend time with family. They also took trips around the U.S. to see the sights or attend Baylor football games. As a friend recently observed, Joan was always up for an adventure, and she and Jim made sure their lives included it.

The Parsons were charter members of Lake Shore Baptist Church in Waco. Those founding members of Lakeshore became fast friends for a lifetime, sharing meals together every month for many years through "Supper Club," gathering as families on New Year's Day, and sharing a variety of excursions over the years.

Joan's generous spirit poured out on her family, friends, and the community throughout her life. She taught a preschool Sunday School Class at Lakeshore for 30 years and helped prepare Wednesday night dinner there for 15 years. She also volunteered as a driver for Meals on Wheels for 40 years. Joan was known for her chocolate and shoes. She made friends wherever she went and made her family, especially her grandchildren, feel completely cherished.

As age began to slow her, Joan made a series of moves, first to an assisted living facility in Waco and then, in early 2018, to Tennessee, where she could live closer to more members of her family. Though these moves were difficult for her, she quickly involved herself in these new communities and made new friends. In her last year she particularly enjoyed riding through the beautiful Tennessee countryside with Jack and spending time with his large extended family.

Joan was preceded in death by her husband, Jim; brother, Frank Fidler; and sisters, Sara Lou Barrow and Dina Robinson. She is survived by her sister, Jane Olmstead; sons and daughters-in-law, Gregg and Melody, Jack and Cathy, and Joe and Suzii; six grandchildren, Jonathan Parsons (Lindsay), Jessica Anderson (Jason), Rebecca Parsons, Eva Bull (David), and Eli Parsons; eight great-grandchildren, Silas, Josiah, Asher, Emerson, Violet Parsons and Brennan, Avy, and Jonathan Bull; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to Lake Shore Baptist Church.

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