Parness collapsed and died suddenly Thursday morning during an early morning run. Grace Little said, “He’s newly retired, but he’d wake up early in the morning and go for a run.”
Parness was a track & field, as well as cross country coach. The trophies that adorn the halls of North Branford High represent his 20 years at the school. He recently retired from a position at Sikorsky Aircraft.
Little said that Coach Parness was always ready to run with his team.
It didn’t really matter what the weather was like that day he would go out and run with us.”
Parness spent most of his time at school coaching the athletes. Michael Madoule said, “He was a friend. He was so understanding about everything that we did.” Grace Little said, “On Saturday morning practices, every time he would have a nice breakfast ready for us. He brought bagels and muffins and chocolate milk.”
Parness would show up for student events, and even the prom. The proud coach took pictures with the students on their special day.
Michael Madoule added, “I work at a summer camp over the summer and he would go there. He would set up a race for the kids. He was the basis for the most of the things in this town.”
Thursday night over 100 students gathered at the cross country course for a candlelight vigil to remember Parness.
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Madoule said, “We bought a few hundreds candles. Set up a nice heart in the field. We all gathered around and we were able to verbally share our feelings.”
On Friday, students left a note and flowers in Parness’s memory on the cross country course; a quiet place where the students often practiced with Parness. Little said, “I will remember him for just being so optimistic and positive and keeping me going even when I wasn’t having a good day.”