The Rev. Dr. A. Leslie Parrott loved learning and he inspired that love in others. It was a family legacy of sorts. His grandfather had been...

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The Rev. Dr. A. Leslie Parrott loved learning and he inspired that love in others. It was a family legacy of sorts.

His grandfather had been president of a Christian college. The Rev. Dr. Parrott himself became president of two Christian colleges. And his three children are all involved in education.

“His legacy for Christian higher education is all over my life,” said his son, Les Parrott III, professor of psychology at Seattle Pacific University.

The Rev. Dr. Parrott, who also led Church of the Nazarene congregations in Puyallup, Kirkland and Kelso, died Sept. 23 in Phoenix after a brief illness. He was 85.

His father, who had grown up poor in Tennessee, had only $5 to his name when he came to Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. Years later, he went back — as president of the university.

The Rev. Dr. Parrott followed in his father’s footsteps, serving as president of Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Mass., from 1970 to 1975, and as president of Olivet Nazarene University from 1975 to 1991.

“You almost pick up leadership in education by osmosis when you grow up in a college president’s home,” said son Les Parrott III. His older brother, Roger Parrott, is president of Belhaven College in Jackson, Miss.; and oldest brother, Richard Parrott, is an educator and lecturer in Nashville, Tenn.

The Rev. Dr. Parrott’s wife, Lora Lee Parrott, has a master’s degree in theology.

Whether in his role as college administrator or parish leader, the Rev. Dr. Parrott inspired.

“He was a highly educated man who was then able to communicate with all of us about all he had learned,” said Kathy Perry, community-care pastor at Puyallup Church of the Nazarene, where the Rev. Dr. Parrott came out of semi-retirement to serve as senior pastor from 1995 to 2000. “He was very interested in all of us participating in that process of growing as a person.”

Perry was a student at Olivet while the Rev. Dr. Parrott was president there.

At the Puyallup church, as at Olivet years earlier, he beautified the place, spearheading the renovation of the church’s sanctuary and foyer.

That he wanted to receive people in a place that brought peace and comfort depicts who he was, Perry said.

The Rev. Dr. Parrott, author of numerous books including “Building Today’s Church,” always promoted reading, Perry said.

The last time she saw him, he asked what book she had read most recently, what she had discovered from reading it, and on what points she disagreed with the author.

It showed his gift for conversation and for taking personal interest in people, Perry said. The Rev. Dr. Parrott never allowed people to rest on past achievements. Instead, he encouraged them to “continue the learning process for a lifetime.”

In addition to his wife and sons, the Rev. Dr. Parrott is survived by his sister, Lorene Perry, of Kankakee, Ill.; his brother, John Parrott, of Phoenix; and six grandchildren.

Memorial services were held in Bourbonnais and Phoenix.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Leslie and Lora Lee Parrott Endowed Scholarship at Olivet Nazarene University, One University Ave., Bourbonnais, Ill., 60914-2345.