The Legacy of Donald Parsons: Making a Difference in Students’ Lives

Don Parsons' photo in the 1956 Echo yearbook

Don Parsons’ photo in the 1956 Echo yearbook

The wife and son of Truman Hall of Famer Donald Parsons (’57, ’61) have established the Donald Parsons Endowed Athletic Scholarship through the Truman State University Foundation to benefit student-athletes attending Truman. Jean (Wells) Parsons, a 1967 Truman alumna, and her son, Devin Parsons, created the scholarship in honor of the late Don Parsons, a teacher, coach and administrator, who dedicated his life to education and athletics.

An All-State basketball player for Ottumwa (Iowa) High School, Don helped his team finish second in the state tournament in 1953. After graduating from high school, Don came to Truman where he joined the Bulldog basketball team. Collecting All-MIAA honors twice (1955-56 and 1956-57), he was named Most Valuable Player on the All-Conference team in 1956-57. Nearly three decades after Don graduated in 1957 with a bachelor of science in education degree, he was inducted into the Truman State University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1986.

While serving in the military in Germany, Don played on his command’s basketball team. In 1959, he taught and coached sports at Greentop, Mo., and after earning a master’s degree from Truman in 1961, he taught science and coached at Evans Junior High School in Ottumwa, Iowa. He became an administrator with the Ottumwa School District and served as the assistant principal at Washington Junior High School followed by 12 years at Walsh Junior High School. He then served as principal at Eisenhower Elementary School and handled other district-wide duties, including directing the staff wellness program and the K-8 physical education and elementary athletic programs. Don retired from the Ottumwa School District in 1994. He died in February 2012.

Throughout his long and distinguished career, Don inspired countless young people, and the scholarship established by his wife and son ensures that his legacy will live on through future generations of Bulldogs.

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