A photo of The Honorable John A. Parkins, Jr.

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.

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21 Condolences for The Honorable John A. Parkins, Jr.

  • I thank God for righteous men and women in positions of authority. Your family can be proud for John’s good character and long service. I pray divine comfort in your grief. God bless you.

  • You lived a great life John, but too soon to go. You will be missed. May you Rest In Peace.

  • So sorry for your loss. You certainly will be missed. Prayers for all the family.

  • John, “take the rest of the day off” my beloved friend and cherished colleague. I will always remember your kindness, quick wit, legal acumen, and love of the law. Rest in peace. You will never be forgotten.

  • Binky and Betsy, I’m so sorry to hear of your father’s passing. We’ll keep your family in our prayers.

  • To the entire Parkins family,
    May he rest in peace, and rise again in His Great Glory!

    I hope to see you all on Sunday.

  • John was a admirable man. I am honored and privileged to have spent most of my career at Richards Layton & Finger knowing and having John as a friend.

    The goal isn’t to live forever. The goal is to create something that will. John accomplished that goal during his lifetime.

    You will be missed my friend,
    Terry

  • John: I will miss you. We really got to know each other when we attended Judicial College. I loved the weekend we spent exploring the area around Reno and all the history lessons you gave me regarding Donner Pass and Pyramid Lake. You were a great friend and colleague. I promise to keep the Swedish Fish jar full in case you decide to come back and visit us. Your friend, Eric

  • I met John at the 1992 Phillies Dream Week in Clearwater, FL. We were assigned as roommates for the week and became fast friends. Our love of the Phillies and the law were common threads which led to a wonderful 27 year relationship. Together, we enjoyed Phillies games, trips to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown to see our 3 favorite Phillies (Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt & Richie Ashburn) be inducted, rounds of golf, books, many meals and times of sharing. During that time, I was privileged to witness and benefit from John’s many stellar qualities, including his: wit, fairness, intellect, generosity, compassion and sense of justice. I am a better man because John was put in my path. Delaware is a better place because John had such a passion for the law and the fair administration of the law…for everyone. I will miss him as a good friend, an exceptional person, a fellow Phillies Phanatic and a man whose spirit of generosity touched me throughout the time I knew him. Finally, I will always remember how John was always able to best me at Phillies Trivia. He knew more about the history of the team and its players than anyone I knew. Keeping up with him was just not possible. But, boy did I have fun trying!

  • Bill you were always a good guy ,friendly , and well liked you will be missed for sure may the Lord take you in his Heart and preserve your soul . RIP my friend
    Friend from Texas
    Bill Essick

  • Offering my deepest sympathy and love to your family during this sad time.
    Carolyn Hornick
    Roanoke

  • John was a special human being. He took great pride in his chosen profession and he loved his family very much. My condolences to his entire family.
    Cathy

  • Rest easy Sir. We will take it from here.
    Thank you for your service, friendship and support though the years.
    My thoughts with your family in this very difficult time
    Deborah Manglass

  • Dearest Andrea and Family:
    There is really nothing comforting anyone can say that will lessen the pain of losing a loved one, but please know that you are surrounded in prays and love from those of us near and far. Andrea, I’m only a glass of wine and a phone call away. Love you much my friend! -Karen M Bryson

  • Judge Parkins – You were witty with a unique sense of humor. A fun loving and caring individual, my time with New Castle County Superior Court was memorable with your contagious smile and unforgettable laughter. Your unique tag phrase of telling the staff “to take the rest of the day off” will never be forgotten. May your loved ones cherish your memory and remember the good times during this time of grief and sadness. I know that you are still rooting the Phillies on while looking down on the rest of us.

  • John was a middle school and high school friend of mine. I always looked forward to seeing him at high school reunions. We are holding our 55th reunion this August and I was hoping to see him there. Condolences to his family. He will be missed by many.

  • Judge Parkins was a great gentleman, scholar and jurist. And he had a great sense of humor. I enjoyed talking baseball with him, too. My condolences to his family.

  • Betsy P.,
    So sorry for your loss. Prayers for your family. We are thinking of you. Go Generals!
    –Betsy C.

  • John’s illness and absence from the bench and the profession he lived was a loss to us all, as is his passing. He was a gifted attorney and judge and a good person.
    I’ve known him for many years and witnessed his compassion in the cases before him.
    Rest In Peace, old friend. You will live on in our hearts.
    My heartfelt condolences to his family.

  • Peace to the family and loved ones of JAP.

  • This is very sad news only recently discovered. John was wonderful law school class mate over the years. A regular at reunions, he was the one always upbeat and glad to see you. His use of law school students as law clerks was greatly appreciated by the school and reflected his devotion to the school we both loved. A life well-lived for sure. We will toast to his memory at our next reunion…..count on it. Well-done, John.