‘The Most Influential Person I Ever Knew’: Ray Parry, 86, NCHS Teacher and Assistant Football Coach

Before he retired as New Canaan High School’s assistant principal in 2003, Gary Field had wanted to construct what he calls an ‘Emeritus Wall of Fame’ near the auditorium or other conspicuous spot. Composed of plaques listing the names, years taught at NCHS and, importantly, a slogan relating to the honored educator, the would-be Wall of Fame in one special case for Field would honor a man that he said forever changed his life. “In Ray Parry’s case,” Field said, “I think his slogan would be: ‘Young people rely on us to touch their lives in some meaningful way.’ As for me, I know for a fact that they have certainly touched mine.’ ”

He added: “It was wonderful working with him and he was brilliant and he loved kids and they loved him. He was the most influential person I ever knew.

Video Tributes Pour In for New Canaan High School’s Ray Parry


It’s been about five weeks since Tim Parry put out a call for happy birthday video tributes to his dad, Ray—a New Canaan High School science teacher from 1959 to 1990 (and for stretches assistant football coach, equipment manager and head of ticket operations) who’s grown increasingly isolated these past four years after losing a child, grandchild and wife. What came back (full video below) were 27 tributes from former students and colleagues—some funny, some touching, and at least one highly revealing. In her video, fellow New Canaan High School 1987 grad Emily Jordhamo—daughter of retired NCHS teacher Tony Jordhamo—recalls that Ray let her use his own son (Tim’s) car to pass her driver’s test way back when. “I never knew that this happened, and as god is my witness, that is probably the closest I have ever come to having a girl in my car when I was in high school,” Parry told NewCanaanite.com. Here’s the video, story continues below:
Ray Parry’s 85th birthday tribute (full video)

Videos include clips from Rams head football coach Lou Marinelli, New Canaan fixture Mark “2-5-0” Rearick, and students from the 1960s through the ‘80s.

Honoring a New Canaan Teacher: A Tribute to Mr. Parry

Tim Parry, 44, began to see his father differently—through the eyes of his schoolmates—after arriving at New Canaan High School as a freshman in the late-1980s. By then his dad, Ray Parry, was approaching 30 years teaching science at the high school, including stints as an assistant football coach and equipment manager there. “I came to see a whole different world,” Tim recalled on a recent afternoon. “A world of people that he had done things for. I started to hear, ‘Your dad meant this and that to me,’ ‘I wouldn’t have got into college if not for your dad,’ ‘He pulled me aside and gave me something to read and it changed my life.’ ”

The elder Parry will turn 85 on April 12 and Tim has a special plan to mark the day: Gather videos from former students and colleagues telling his dad what he’s meant to them, and combine the clips in a digital tribute reel (instructions on how to participate can be found at end of this article).