Dr. Edgar A. “Bud” Parsons, 93, of Chapel Hill, NC, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, on Memorial Day Sunday, May 26, 2013. Born January 7, 1920, in Akron, Ohio, Parsons attended Akron public schools, graduating from Garfield High School in 1937. World War II interrupted his course work at the University of Akron and employment with Star Well Drilling and Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. He trained at Ft. Benning, GA, where he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant and later served as an officer in Rifle Company A, 272nd Infantry Regiment, 69th Infantry Division. He was with the Fighting 69th at the first linkup with Allied Soviet Union ground forces on April 25, 1945, on the Elbe River near Torgau, Germany, during the final days of the Battle of Berlin. The “Linkup” facilitated the end of the European War effort, with Germany's surrender on May 8, 1945, now known as "VE Day.".
Post war, Bud attended a portion of the Nuremburg Trials before he returned to the University of Akron, obtaining his degree in 1946. He earned a Ph.D. from Cornell Graduate School of Economics in 1947 and worked as an assistant professor in the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations until 1950 when, due to the outbreak of the Korean War, he was recalled to active duty at the request of the newly established Directorate of Intelligence Headquarters, US Air Force. He served in Japan, Korea, and elsewhere in the Far East.
Bud worked in National Security Planning in the Executive Office of the President, Federal Civil Defense Administration, and Office of Defense Mobilization Preparedness. He is the author of numerous military operations planning publications on the threat of fallout or residual radioactivity that are still referred to in related national and global dilemmas. In 1960, Bud accepted a position at Research Triangle Institute, a cornerstone of Research Triangle Park, NC. He originated and directed RTI’s Office of Operations and Economics Research and spearheaded the award of many of the largest RTI projects during its early development as a leading “think tank.” In 1980, he became vice president of research at System Sciences, Inc., based in Chevy Chase, MD, from which he phased into retirement in Chapel Hill.
In advance of the 50th anniversary of the end of WWII in Europe, Bud was a principal negotiator with German and Soviet Elbe River Veterans for two linkup commemorative locations at Torgau and Strehla, Germany. He made presentations to US President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Boris Yeltsin and helped obtain authorizations and multi-nation approval to fly the American flag on a permanent basis at these locations.
Bud was an active member of the University Presbyterian Church and a past president of Chapel Hill Rotary Club. He was well known in his Lake Forest neighborhood and other walks of life as a great raconteur and listener and for his love of learning and teaching. Bud is predeceased by his wife, Frances, in 2005. A loving, caring father and grandfather, he is survived by his four children, Jeanne, of Norfolk, VA; Allen (Susie) of Hillsborough; Celia “Cindy” Bode of Chapel Hill; Patricia Beyer (Wayne) of Bahama, NC; and grandchildren, Luke Bode (Blair) of Atlanta, GA, and Casey Bode (Christine) of Birmingham, AL.
A memorial service will be held at the University Presbyterian Church in Chapel Hill in conjunction with inurnment at Arlington National Cemetery later in the summer. In lieu of flowers, contributions to the Veterans Memorial in Chapel Hill via www.chapelhillmemorial.org/make-donations or Friends of Chapel Hill Parks & Recreation, 200 Plant Rd, CH, NC 27514 would be most appreciated.