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James William Parins

James William Parins

James William Parins, retired Professor of English and Associate Director of the Sequoyah National Research Center at UALR, died Sunday after a long illness. He would have been 74 on November 19. Born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in 1939, he was the oldest of the nine children of Joseph and Marion Van Beek Parins. He attended parochial and public school in Green Bay and after high school joined the Marine Corps Reserve. He attended the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, and graduated from St. Norbert College. After a short business career, he returned to school, earning a PhD from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1972.

In 1973, he came to Little Rock to teach in the English Department and continued in that job for 40 years. He had been an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Stephens Point, and later spent a year as Visiting Professor of Humanities at Leicester Polytechnic in England.

The quality of his professional achievements is reflected in the published work he leaves behind. Early in his career, he produced several concordances to the works of Joseph Conrad and Ezra Pound, a biography of William Barnes, and coauthored Structure and Meaning: An Introduction to Literature. With research partner Daniel F. Littlefield, Jr., he began working with Native American writings, and with Littlefield published the ground-breaking Biobibliography of Native American Writers, 1772-1924, revealing hundreds of Native American writers and journalists whose work was previously unknown. Numerous publications involving Indian authors followed, including some 40 editions of Native writers and seven chapbooks by contemporary Indian poets. He wrote biographies of two Cherokees, John Rollin Ridge and Elias Boudinot. His most recent collaboration with Littlefield was a two-volume Encyclopedia of Indian Removal, and his last book, which came out three weeks ago, is Literacy and Intellectual Life in the Cherokee Nation, 1820-1906.

He published a number of articles in professional journals and regularly presented papers, most recently at Native American Studies conferences in France. At the Sequoyah National Research Center, Parins worked with student interns on their research projects in the American Native Press Archives, and as a member of the English Department, mentored several Cooper Honors students. He was a member of the Grand Maumelle Sailing Club, the Book Club, several professional organizations and for a time secretary of the Australiasian Order of Old Bastards, Arkansas branch.

Preceding him in death were his parents, Joseph and Marion Parins, a granddaughter Ashley, and a sister Joan. He is survived by his wife Marylyn, daughter Claire (Matt Gronwold), son Craig (Kristina), stepson James Brady (Ruxandra), six grandchildren, Stephanie, Faithe, and Cassidy Parins, Roland Brady, and Blake and Joshua Yenner. Also surviving him are seven siblings, Tom (Yadira) and Mike (Judy) Parins, Mary (Barb) Parins, Pam (Bob) Fisher, Jean (Earl McNamara) Parins, Ann (Scott) Anderson, Joey (Curtis) Parins, brothers-in-law Andy (Jenny) and James (Dana Kay) Jackson, and twenty Parins and Jackson nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, November 22, at Ruebel Funeral Home, preceded by a private family burial at Mount Holly. The family will receive at 5500 North Grandview. Memorial may be made to the Sequoyah National Research Center at UALR ( Arrangements by Ruebel Funeral Home,

Condolence Book

"Jim Parins was a great person, and he will be missed."
Angela Willis | Little Rock, AR |

"A true university citizen and scholar. Gentle strength. We are all diminished by his passing. "
Charles and Betty Hathaway | , AR |

"I will always treasure your knowledge of strength, belief in myself, stay focused on my goals and not allow others to guide my future. Thanks Doc. I'm a better student because of your time spent with me. I will miss your jokes!! R.I.P."
Frances J Frazier | Little Rock, AR |

"Sorry for the loss of Dr. Jim Parins. He was a fine example for many.
Thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time.
Angela Elizandro"

Angela Elizandro | Sherwood, AR |

"Fair winds and following seas, my friend."
Linda Stipsky | Little Rock, AR |

"Dear Parins Family,

I have heard Stephanie talk many times about her Grandpa and how is was such a wonderful man, however,reading this story of his life I had no idea how many great things he had accomplished and how respected he was. During your time of grief I think that it should be mentioned that he will always be remembered not only in the hearts of his family but also in the professional community which it achieved only by the most special of people, which seems most fitting.

We love you very much Stephanie.

With love,
Nathan & Nikki Vales"

Nathan & Nikki Vales | Benton , AR |

"Jim, we'll miss you buddy. Your footsteps can never be filled. Onward and upward, Marine! "
John Hendon | Conway, AR |

"I remember your wonderful classes and our long talks about those great Wisconsin winters! I will miss you!"
Joy Clark | Little Rock, AR |

"A friend, a gentleman, a scholar. It was an honor to know you. Thank you for your kindness. Kathryn


Kathryn B. Ragan | Little Rock, AR |

"Now that this salt estranging sea's behind you, dear old friend, smooth sailing. Never forget Willie's "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain." Till we meet again on more familiar shores! "
Russell Murphy | Eureka Springs, AR |

"I have had the pleasure to work with Jim for more than 25 years at UALR. His loss now will be felt by students who took his classes and those who unfortuantely wll not have the opportunity to take his classes.
We often talked about living in Wisconsin in the winter and the glory or demise of the Green Bay Packers."

Jerry Hanson | Little Rock Arkansas |

"Dear Marylyn: I didn't know Jim, but you & I have known each other all our lives. No one ever knows what to say in a time like this . . . will hold you fondly in my thoughts during this difficult time. Love, Bridget"
Bridget Wright Warner | Albuquerque, NM |

"Dr. Parins inspired me to pursue my graduate work by telling me I could compete even though I was from North Little Rock, AR. His love of the Victorians sparked that love in me. He and Marylyn have and will be my models of the best a college professor can be. I wonder now if my courage to follow my love of Native American Studies can also be traced to him. Thank you so much, Jim! Because of you, Marylyn, Littlefield and the rest of the UALR English Department Bowling team, I have travelled and studied throughout the world. Have a great time sharing a beer and a story with all the great authors and spirits you are meeting now❤️"
Dr. Lia A. Steele-Marcell | Little Rock, AR |

"Craig and Marylyn,

We are so sorry for your loss. We will greatly miss seeing Jim at the lake. Our hearts are with you.

With love,
Jon and Nicole"

Nicole Claas Moore and Jon Claas | GMSC, AR |

"Jim was truly one of a kind; great spirit, fine all-around gentleman, a true joy to know and be around...and a great supporter of his family. I recall often thinking that Craig was a very lucky son."
Merle Paule | Little Rock, AR |

"Dr. Parins helped to solidify my love of literature,the written word, and all things English. He was a wonderfully kind man, who always had a smile for you, and who never made you feel like you were wrong-even when you were. He will be greatly missed.
My thoughts go out to all those who knew and were touched by him."

Krista | DeWitt |

"Heaven got a very special angel!! Jim was Stephanie's Hero. Grandpa was such a caring man. He has done so much for Stephanie and I. For that I am grateful. My thoughts and prayers go out to Marylyn, Craig & Claire. "
Myra | Alexander, AR |

"Condolence from Class of 1958, Nicolet High School. Friend of Eileen."
marilyn vaessen manthei | shawano, WI |

"Joey & Family, With our deepest sympathy, you and your family are in our thoughts, hearts and prayers at this sad time."
Scott & Patty Seroogy VanDenHeuvel | Kaukauna, WI |

"Jim's legacy as a scholar and all around great man will live forever. He made a lasting impact on the world, and he's touched many people's lives - some he may have met and many that he may have not. I will always remember hearing he and Dan talk about "slaying the dragons of ignorance" as Jim would head off to class to teach. It was a noble pursuit for a noble man. Do-na-da-go-hv-i, Tsi-mi ("Until we meet again, Jim." in Cherokee)."
Roy Boney, Jr. | Tahlequah, OK |

"I am so sorry for the Parins' and Jim's extended family for your loss. Not only was Jim brilliant but he was a great man. I'm sure he was welcomed by many angels.
Love and Peace to Jim's family and friends

Kathy Bushmaker-Flemal | Green Bay, WI |

"With deepest sympathy to Marylyn and to Jim's family and friends.

Zabelle and Bob "

Zabelle and Bob Stodola | Duluth, MN |

"So sorry for your loss Dr. Mrs. Parins and the Parins' family. You're in my thoughts and prayers."
MaryKate Paige | Buffalo, IL |

"We are so sorry to hear of your loss. Jim certainly lived a truly remarkable life. You have our deepest sympathies. We will keep your family in our thoughts and prayers."
Troy and Andrea Dalebroux | Green Bay, WI |

"The first time I met Jim I felt that I had known him already. His humor, stories about Green Bay an then his insight into our culture made me realize his heart. As I read of his passing, I knew that when I put my tobacco down to pray for his journey, that this would help bring comfort to my thoughts. Through him I met some of his family here in Green Bay and I am the richer for it. Travel well, my friend, and, "Wae-Wae-nen" (Thank you) for all you were and your good life."
Richie Plass | Green Bay, WI |

"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His godly ones (Psalm 116:15).

Dr. Parins was one of my very first college professors at UALR. He perceived that I would be a successful student and encouraged me constantly. He helped me to believe in myself and was always available when I needed him. I shall never forget such an awesome man. May heaven receive him graciously.

Condolences to wife, Marilyn, and family.

Rest in peace Dr. Parins "

Rita (Carr0Waller) Kone | Little Rock, AR |

You and Jim have always been an example to me, and I will miss his gentle spirit. As my thesis adviser, he taught me how to satisfy curiosity through research and how to ease up on myself with the complexities of the writing. Curious and easy-going is how I'll always remember this great man. You can take comfort knowing that any time he crosses our minds, he will bring a smile to our faces. Peace be with you.

Judy Camp | Little Rock, AR |

"I will always be grateful to Jim Parins for his love of Victorian Literature and his deep appreciation for the work of Thomas Hardy. I feel blessed to have had an opportunity to study with him as a undergraduate student. Upon the completion of my Cooper Honors project, I had a quote from Tess of the d'Urbevilles printed on two t-shirts (one for myself and the other for Dr. Parins). I still have mine. The quote was from Chapter 42. "Inside this exterior, over which the eye might have roved as over a thing scarcely percipient, almost inorganic, there was the record of a pulsing life which had learnt too well, for its years, of the dust and ashes of things, of the cruelty of lust and the fragility of love." It seems like it was just a few days ago that I saw Jim and Marylyn, driving around the Heights in the "dog car." I used to love bumping into them at WordsWorth Books, long after I had graduated...and of course, who could ever forget those awesome King Arthur movie marathons with Jim and Marylyn. I love you both so much. I still think of you often and I will always remain tethered to the literature discussed in your seminars. I am very sad to know that Jim Parins is no longer here with us. But he will always be with me, and with every student he ever taught or mentored. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Much love, Amy Skinner"
Amy Skinner | New York, NY |

"We will miss Jim for a thousand reasons, including his gentle humor, his intellectual depth and his love of sailing. Best wishes to Marylyn and the rest of his family."
Larry Coleman | Little Rock, AR |

"My deepest sympathies to Craig, Claire, and Marilyn. Uncle Jim was always special to me. I didn't spend much time with him, but he was dear to my mom, Joan, and her love and stories of him endure in my heart. Jim's accomplishments have always been legendary in the Parins family. Please know I love all of you, and Jim lives on through us always and forever. "
David Parins | Pittsboro, NC |

"I had the honor of being Jim's colleague for over 35 years. We would exchange greetings in the Stabler Hall elevator and quite recently longer conversations in ROSS Hall where we both had classes. In the frequent rush to classes and back to your department or home, I wish I got to know Jim better. His humble, gentlemanly demeanor was always evident to me and I certainly knew of his near legendary abilities as a teacher and scholar. I will miss him and think of him whenever the moment comes. A good man is never forgotten. "
art english | Little Rock, AR |

"Dear Mrs. Dr. Parins,

I am so sorry for your loss. I didn't even know Jim was sick. He was such a wonderful man and great professor. Both of you meant so much to me as professors, advisors, mentors, and friends. You both nurtured my obsessive love of English literature. But it is what he did with Dr. Littlefield and those Native American newspapers that we live a lasting mark on the university, the state and the nation. He was so passionate about his work with Dr. Littlefield and it was contagious. He made me believe that I could do whatever I wanted - whether I pursued English lit or public history. He will be greatly missed and very fondly remembered. Please let me know if there is anything I can do. You know where to find me.

Heather Register Zbinden | Little Rock, AR |

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