CCISD legendary figure Ralph Parr passes away at 83

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Ralph Parr, beloved CCISD member, teacher, father, husband, and son.

Morgan Severson, Editor-in-Chief

The Clear Creek Independent School District lost the life of one of its most influential figures earlier this year. On Saturday, February 29, Ralph Parr passed away at 84, but he will live on not only by his name on a CCISD elementary school, but in the memory of all the lives that he has impacted.

For almost the entirety of his life, Parr lived and breathed CCISD. The district legend was not only a CCISD Trustee, but a Principal, a Vice Principal, a journalism teacher, an English teacher, a tennis coach and a student, leaving him with a long yet impressive resume of working, learning and leading in CCISD.

“I knew Mr. Parr for over 30 years. I met him while I was principal of Ball [High School] in Galveston and he was principal of [Clear Creek High School]. Mr. Parr and I hit it off right from the very start. His humor, love for students and ability to build a great team around him were three characteristics that he modeled for me and others religiously. Mr. Parr’s legendary status is present today because of his longevity, love for CCISD, and contributions to mankind,” Dr. Greg Smith, Superintendent of CCISD, said.

After his retirement as principal of Creek in 1994, Parr returned to CCISD in his most recent involvement in the district as a Board Trustee. He served from January 1996 to May 2009 and had Ralph Parr Elementary School named in his honor his final year on the board. His countless re-elections on the board are only proof that the community was more than happy with the work he was doing for CCISD and its students.

At Ralph Parr Elementary, Parr was always interacting with and supporting the education of the students there. On some occasions, Parr would come to the school and read to the students in the library. He would also participate in the Ralph Parr Elementary fifth grade clap out, a CCISD elementary tradition where students and staff will line the halls and clap for the fifth graders during the dismissal on their last day of elementary school.

“Listening to people and listening to what they had to say. Always being fair and impartial, and taking everything into account. He was always available, when a parent needed to talk to him, a student, or a faculty member. I attended CCHS, when he was the head principal, and all of my high school years, were under the watchful eye of him. My dad was always dedicated to so many organizations and had to be there for everyone. That was his job. Dedication and perseverance,” Richard (Richie) Parr, Ralph Parr’s son, said.

Ralph Parr is survived by his wife of 47 years, Claudia Parr and his son Richie Parr, who were both also involved in CCISD. Ralph Parr and Claudia Parr met in the 1960s at Creek. Claudia Parr was a speech and journalism teacher and Ralph Parr was a senior English and journalism teacher as well. He taught there for 11 years and then in 1972, Ralph Parr left Creek and became an assistant principal at Lake also for 11 years. Then in 1983, Ralph Parr came back to Creek as principal for 11 years before his retirement making a total of 33 years spent as an educator in the district. According to his son, those that knew Ralph Parr knew that he “loved Clear Creek,” and that he was Creek’s “biggest supporter.”

“He cared about CCHS and CCISD and it showed through his actions and support for administration, staff and students. Enthusiasm. He bled Creek maroon. You won’t find a bigger support of Creek than Mr. Parr,” Principal Jamey Majewski, former co-worker of Ralph Parr, said.

Ralph Parr was born in Galveston, Texas in 1936. He was a 12-year student in CCISD, attending League City School for his intermediate and elementary education. He graduated from Creek in 1954, when it was named Webster High School, showing just how deep his roots are in CCISD. He graduated from Southwest Texas State Teachers college, now known as Texas University, in 1958 with a Bachelor’s in education and attended University of Houston Clear Lake for his graduate degree. His college education then took him back to CCISD. According to Richie Parr, his father always said, “you can never go home again,” yet that is exactly what Ralph Parr did, he went back to “the place he knew most, Clear Creek High School.”

“Ralph Parr was my tennis coach [at Creek] in 1961..No one wanted to coach the tennis team, so Mr. Parr stepped up and was the coach for two years. He hired me as the receptionist here at CCHS in 1984. Yes, I am still here. He was a great principal here at Creek…Loved the kids, was a very fair man, [a] strong principal in many ways. Yes, he is a legend. After retiring from Creek, he was on the school board fighting for the things he believed in…I am proud to say I knew him as an educator, principal and friend…A very dear man to me,” Paula Radicioni, current Creek receptionist and 1962 alum, said.

Ralph Parr’s Celebration of Life was set to be hosted in Creek’s Main Auditorium on Saturday, March 21. However, it was postponed until further notice due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“He is a legend, and only now in the last [four to five] years, in my life, did I truly realize what all my dad had done, how much change he had seen, and still continued to do one thing. Persevere. My dad taught me the love and spirit and heart and dedication that I have to Clear Creek High School. He made me a fan and made me fall in love with my second home for many years, even after I graduated, and his as well, Clear Creek High School. Going to school with my dad there, and the years I spent there, were the best times of my life, I would not trade them for anything at all,” Richie Parr said.