State's longest-serving judge to retire from Missouri Court of Appeals

30 July 2009


State's longest-serving judge to retire from Missouri Court of Appeals


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Judge John E. Parrish announced today that he will retire September 1 from the Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District, after nearly 36 years of judicial service, making him the longest-serving judge in Missouri currently on the bench. Parrish was appointed to the court in January 1990, and voters retained him twice thereafter for 12-year terms. He submitted his letter of resignation to the governor and chief justice yesterday afternoon.

"We'll miss him, and I don't just mean his fellow judges," Southern District Chief Judge Dan Scott said. "Think of all the lawyers and citizens Judge Parrish has worked with in 36 years as a judge. He's set a high standard for all of us in the legal profession, and it's been a privilege to have served with him."

In his 19 years on the Court of Appeals, Parrish authored more than 900 opinions and served six years as a presiding judge of one of the court's two divisions. He also served as the court's chief judge in 1992 and 1993.

"It has been a distinct privilege to serve as a Missouri judge during the administration of eight governors," Parrish said. "I have enjoyed the friendships and working relationships with the many judges with whom I have served during that time. I sincerely believe that Missouri has the finest judiciary in the country."

A native of Camden County, Parrish, 69, earned his bachelor of business administration degree in 1962 and his law degree in 1965, both from the University of Missouri-Columbia. After law school, Parrish served in the U.S. Army as an artillery captain from 1966 to 1968. From 1968 to 1973, Parrish practiced law as a member of the Camdenton law firm Phillips and Parrish (now Phillips, McElyea, Carpenter and Welch). He served as the prosecuting attorney of Camden County from 1969 to 1973, when he was appointed as a circuit judge in the 26th Judicial Circuit (Camden, Laclede, Miller, Moniteau and Morgan counties). He was elected to the circuit judge position in 1974 and was re-elected in 1976, 1982 and 1988.  

Parrish has served on the board of directors for Lake Regional Health System since 1977, serving as its president in 1983-1985, 1991-1993 and 1999-2001. He was a member of the Supreme Court Judicial Records Committee from 1982 to 2003, serving as chairman from 1984 to 2003. Actively involved in juvenile issues, Parrish was on the board of trustees of the National Juvenile Court Foundation Inc. from 1987 to 1990, the board of directors for the Missouri Children's Services Commission from 1983 to 1990 and has been a member of the Missouri Juvenile Justice Advisory Group since 1981. In addition, Parrish has served as faculty for many continuing legal education seminars and was a faculty adviser for the National Judicial College at the University of Nevada-Reno.

Parrish and his wife, Claudia, live in Camdenton and also have a home in Lee's Summit. Their son, Mark, an attorney, lives with his wife, Klara, and their children Lukas and Kristina in Lee's Summit. Parrish said he has no immediate plans after retirement other than to spend time with his grandchildren.

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Contact:  Beth S. Riggert
Desk: (573) 751-3676
Cell: (573) 864-1966
E-mail: beth.riggert@courts.mo.gov