NC District Attorney Frank Parrish dies at 64

Posted at 12:03 PM, Sep 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-24 00:02:35-04

Northeastern North Carolina District Attorney Frank Parrish died suddenly on Sunday at the age of 64.

Parrish was district attorney for the First Judicial District, which includes Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Pasquotank and Perquimans counties.

The District Attorney's Office says they are saddened and shocked at the unexpected loss and that the assistant district attorneys and the professional staff of the District Attorney's Office will be available to address any needs.

Parrish began as an assistant district attorney in 1979 and in 1994 he was elected district attorney. He ran unopposed in 1998 and 2002.

"I'd been here about three weeks and I'm in my office. And Frank walks in with a pair of cut off shorts, sandals, a tie dye t-shirt, which you hadn't seen in years, and head band. I said, 'Frank, what in the world?' Frank was going to Philadelphia to see the Grateful Dead play. He made me laugh," said District Attorney investigator George Ryan.

There were tears as friends and colleagues of Frank Parrish, the man who they say could make everyone in the Northeastern North Carolina District Attorney's office laugh, learned about his death.

"Having been with him, seen him, and been here in the office with him. And then he's gone just like that," Lamb added.

"He could be quite intimidating as a trial prosecutor in a court room. He was as good as they come as far as being a persuasive effective ethical prosecutor. The community loved him. Everyone knew him. He was the peoples' prosecutor," Lamb said.

Today, his colleagues told NewsChannel 3 it was the man outside the courtroom that made Parrish so well-liked.

The father of two frequented the local library, was an actor in community performances, and was an avid basketball player.

"He loved to play round-ball and he was fairly decent at it! Every once in a while, he'd be on the court with someone he met in court," Ryan said.

And most of all, a huge Grateful Dead fan.

"He was a big Dead-head. Loved the Grateful Dead, loved Jerry Garcia, in fact I think he prayed to Jerry Garcia every night before he went to bed," Ryan added.

But now, his chair sits empty.

"It's hard to say what we're going to do without him," he said.

His co-workers must now wait for the Governor to appoint a new District Attorney to fulfill the rest of Parish's term until next December.