Former mission aviation head with the Lord

By May 7, 2004

USA (MNN/MAF) — A pioneer in mission aviation is now with the Lord he served for so long. Mission Aviation Fellowship says their former President and Chairman of the Board, J. Grady Parrott died on May 2, 2004, from pneumonia. Parrott was 95 years old.

Parrott was esteemed within the Christian community worldwide and beloved by the staff and alumni of Redlands-based MAF. All grieve the loss of a respected leader and beloved colleague, mentor, and family member.

Parrott was born in northern Virginia Nov 29, 1908. He grew up near Washington DC prior to his family’s move to Phoenix, Arizona in 1928. In 1942 he joined the U.S. Army Air Corp as an advanced flight instructor. He was immediately loaned to the British RAF who trained their pilots at Falcon Field, just outside of Phoenix. Then, as WWII drew to a close in January 1945, he contacted Betty Greene about a new organization called Christian Airman’s Missionary Fellowship. In May of that same year he joined the fledgling organization as its first Vice President. A trained accountant, he assisted in the formal incorporation of CAMF (now known as Mission Aviation Fellowship) and in August of 1949, Parrott was named its first President, he position he held for 21 years.

As president, he molded Mission Aviation Fellowship into a worldwide operation. Today, the ministry operates a fleet of 62 aircraft throughout 16 countries of Africa, Asia, Eurasia, and Latin America. MAF flies some 3.2 million miles each year in remote regions of the world in support of nearly 600 Christian and humanitarian organizations. In addition to aviation, MAF provides communications services to isolated areas worldwide including e-mail, HF/VHF radios, Internet access, and networking solutions as well as distance education.

In 1952, Parrott personally participated in the first missionary survey of the Dani people group in the famed Baliem Valley of Dutch New Guinea (now Papua, Indonesia). Later, in 1959, Grady and his wife Maureen participated in a ceremony in which Queen Juliana of the Netherlands honored MAF for its pioneering work in the colony. On May 1st, 1963 the colony became part of the independent nation of Indonesia. In additional recognition of its value to the local people, the new national government invited Mission Aviation Fellowship to continue its operations. Today, the two largest MAF programs are located in Indonesia.

In 1970, Parrott stepped down as president and assumed the role of Chairman of the Board. He continued his extraordinary service in this capacity until his retirement in 1982.

Parrott also served as President of the Gideons of Arizona, a charter member of the Phoenix Christian Business Men’s Committee and as a board member of the Mexican Gospel Mission.

Parrott is survived by a son, Richard, a daughter, Beverly, five grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren. His wife of 70 years, Maureen, passed away on December 24, 2003.

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