Dr. Donald St. John-Parsons
Time of Service:
Tuesday, December 29, 2015, 3:00 p.m.
Place of Service:
Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Ave, NYC
Dr. Donald St. John-Parsons was born April 6, 1925 in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England. After attending university, he received a Post-Graduate Diploma in educational administration from Leeds University and briefly taught secondary school in Leeds. He then joined Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service and was stationed as Education Officer in Northern Ghana, where he became fluent in the Dagbani dialect, compiled pioneering collections of African poetry, legends and fables for use by schoolchildren, and attained the rank of Major in the Royal West African Frontier Force. He subsequently moved to Aden, South Arabia, where he served as Chief Education Officer and became fluent in colloquial Arabic. Following his resignation from the civil service he joined the faculty of the University of Sierra Leone as Chair of its Education Department. To develop his department's knowledge of non-European educational techniques, he travelled to the United States where he enrolled at the Bank Street College of Education in New York City to study its innovative early childhood education program. His administrative ability and charm led to an invitation to stay in the United States as the Assistant Chairman of Bank Street's Graduate Programs Division and he remained at Bank Street for the next 33 years, serving in various leadership positions prior to his retirement. While at Bank Street he earned a Master's Degree of Education from its graduate school and also earned a Master's Degree in Education and a Doctorate in Education from Teacher's College, Columbia University.
Donald is survived by his beloved wife of 45 years, Susan, his devoted daughter Fiona, son-in-law Rob Sloane, and granddaughters Miranda and Alice, all of Newton, MA, his two nephews Peter Rawle of Hong Kong and Christopher Rawle of Cardiff, Wales, and his two nieces, Sue Middleton of North Coleford, England and Dee Ellis of Chipping Sodbury, England. His funeral will take place at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on a date yet to be determined and his remains will be returned to his native Forest of Dean. In lieu of flowers, Susan and Fiona would welcome donations in his memory to Smile Train, a charity he supported and which reflects his deep commitment to children.