The Honorable John A. Parkins, Jr.
December 28, 1946 - May 24, 2019
The Honorable John A. Parkins, Jr. passed away peacefully in his home on May 24, 2019 following a satisfying Phillies win. He was 72. He never gave in during his long battle with colon cancer.
Born in Reading, PA on December 28, 1946, firstborn of the late John A. Parkins and Mary E. (Kern) Parkins, he spent most of his childhood in Woodbury, NJ, before coming to Newark, DE and graduating from Newark High School.
Judge Parkins earned his B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Delaware before becoming the third generation of four to attend his beloved Washington and Lee University, where he earned his J.D. in 1972. He returned to Lexington often and spoke of his years there as among the best of his life.
He was admitted to practice law in Delaware in 1972 and served as law clerk to Chief Justice Daniel F. Wolcott and then Associate Justice Daniel L. Herrmann of the Delaware Supreme Court. After beginning in private practice with Murdock, Longobardi, Schwartz & Walsh, he went on to become a Deputy Attorney General for the State of Delaware and held several roles within the Department of Justice including representing the Department of Corrections. He concluded his 8 years of service there as the Chief of the Appeals Division. From 1985 to 2008 he was in private practice as a litigator at Richards, Layton and Finger. During that time he mentored associates, taught annual public speaking seminars and also served as an Adjunct Professor at Widener University School of Law.
In July 2008, he was appointed to the Delaware Superior Court by Governor Ruth Ann Minner and was honored to serve the people of Delaware with compassion, always motivated by the desire that justice prevail.
He often said it was his highest honor to serve with the diverse officers, staff and personnel of the courts, all of whom serve the State with dedication and a deep desire to ensure the fair and equal administration of justice for every person, regardless of means. He believed in and practiced civility in the highest tradition of the Delaware bar, and also demonstrated that justice can and should be served with compassion.
John loved to play baseball and was an avid Phillies fan. He attended his first game 65 years ago and later was a season ticket holder. He attended playoff and World Series games. John spent a memorable week at Phillies Dream Week, returning with stories that entertained one and all.
John loved to travel, and sought out interesting and unique experiences for his daughters—hot air ballooning, international destinations, and numerous memorable “firsts.” He loved history, particularly of the Civil War, and made it a point to visit battlefields around the anniversary of the battle to experience the conditions. He enjoyed researching genealogy and visited old family homesites throughout Virginia. He was also a gourmet cook (grilling not withstanding) and enjoyed taking classes and learning about cultures through their food.
For his daughters, his “cash scrambles” were WAY better than an allowance. Many a summer night at Dairy Queen was the reward for quick cash scramble reflexes. And he knew everything. He was Google before Google became a thing.
John is survived by his wife, Andrea (Carter) Rodgers; brother, Thomas Parkins (Lynda); daughters, Elizabeth Parkins (Marie Saker) of Roanoke, VA and Rebecca Andresen (Scott) of Seattle, WA; and grandchildren, Alexis Elisa Osborne-Parkins, Harper Lee Andresen and Padraig John Andresen.
A visitation for family and friends will be held from 4 pm until 6 pm on Sunday, June 2, 2019, at Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 121 West Park Place, Newark, DE. A second visitation will be held from 10 am until 11 am on Monday, June 3, 2019, at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 276 S College Ave, Newark, DE, where a memorial service will begin at 11am. Interment will be held on June 5, 2019, at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington, VA.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in John’s memory to Community Legal Aid Society of Delaware, 100 W. 10th St., Suite 801, Wilmington, DE 19801 (www.delawareccj.org) or the Delaware Humane Association, 701 A St, Wilmington, DE 19801.