Throughout his 93 activity-packed years, Caston ‘Buck’ Parrott was many things—a World War  II veteran, a decorated firefighter,  an avid golfer, an accomplished gardener, even a milkman and farmer—but it was his military training which served him to the end.  As shared by his daughter Janina Jacobs:  “During the last couple years of his life, when the dementia took over more and more, there was an aspect of his military training that he never let go of: When we had to transport him somewhere or take him walking, the one command he would respond to immediately was 'left face/right face/about face and halt’!”

Mr. Parrott died on Sunday, July 26, 2009 at St. John Hospital in Detroit.  He had been preceded in death by wife,  Janina Dorothy Konarzewski, who passed away May 6, 1984.

On September 2, the Visionalist team was honored to film his burial ceremony at Great Lakes National Cemetery, where to the volley of rifles in the traditional 21 gun salute, Mr. Parrott was laid to rest among the 544 peaceful acres near Holly, Michigan. 

The cemetery, founded several years ago thanks, in the main, to the efforts of L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Executive.  Still under construction, the cemetery will ultimately accommodate the end of life needs for 460,000 veterans and their families who live within 75 miles of the site.

Master Sergeant Jeff Rector, U.S. Army/USAR Casualty Assistance Coordinator, and his team offered full honors, including flag folding, flag presentation, gun salute and the playing of taps—the single bugle melody most apt to elicit emotion.

Still, equally evocative was the ethereal singing of Mr. Parrott’s daughter Janina, a professional musician.  Her version of Amazing Grace was both poignant and letter-perfect, and was followed by 'His Eye Is On The Sparrow'.   It came as no surprise to learn that she is frequently called upon to sing at funerals, and in fact, has done thousands over the years.  “They are all special to me,” she relates.  “Folks will get the very best I have that day.”

Her memories of her father and mother are many,  and she credits them with having turned out four honest, solid and talented kids.  She explains that they married somewhat late for the era and chose life-paths that would ensure responsible parenthood.  That’s not to say that the Parrott household did not have fun!  Says Janina, “Our yard was a regular 'sports palace' with two regulation putting greens, a concrete basketball court, a great rope for climbing in a huge tree, custom monkey bars, and an ice rink complete with boards, nets, and lights in the winter which filled in the extra lot we had.  That is why I do what I do today, with many careers, interests, service to charity boards, music performance.  I have the confidence he instilled in me.  A mother can do that but a father really cements that self-esteem, especially for a girl.  And, just so I knew I was a girl, he also built me a life-sized playhouse with doors and windows that opened and a real roof with shingles.  It was pink, which I asked him about a few years ago.  He simply said it was what I wanted, though I didn't remember asking for it!”

The funeral was arranged by A.J. Desmond & Sons Funeral Home under the leadership of Terry Desmond.  Family owned since 1917, Mr. Parrott’s service was proof of the importance that Mr. Desmond places on family connections—also intimately involved in the Great Lakes National Cemetery service was daughter Kathleen and son Kevin.

Mr. Parrott is survived by his daughter Janina Jacobs, sons Michael (Lisa), Chris (Kathy), and Patrick (Faye) as well as grandchildren Jason, Joel, Shaun, Ryan (USN), and Lauren,
great-grandchildren Isabela and Olivia.  All were present, along with Mr. Parrott’s very special, long time friend, Mrs. Clara Warner.

The filming of this precious personal moment clearly shows the ongoing respect our current military has for the soldiers who stood to fight for the freedom of America, even if it was over six decades ago. 



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