Madam Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to longtime Wiregrass broadcaster and servant of his community, Mr. Howard Parrish, Jr., of Ozark, Alabama, who passed away July 28 at the age of 82.
At the same time that local radio established itself as a vital link between rural America and the world, Parrish became a familiar and trusted voice for Ozark, Alabama listeners.
A veteran of the U.S. Army Air Corps, a graduate of Georgia Southern and a native of Atlanta, he moved to southeast Alabama in 1955, leaving the growing Atlanta radio scene and that city's first commercial FM station to help run the relatively new broadcast station in Ozark,
To his many Dale County listeners, Howard was the voice of WOZK. But he was much more than a friendly announcer. He was general manager, sales manager and chief engineer for WOZK and its FM counterpart, WOAB, for the better part of 45 years.
Parrish likely delivered over 16,000 newscasts over the Ozark airwaves during his tenure at WOZK and WOAB-FM. Despite his continual Ozark broadcast duties, he also found time to construct radio station WELB in neighboring Elba in 1959 and he served as general manager of WDHN-TV 18 in Dothan, Alabama in the early 1970s, returning the struggling TV station to financial stability. He retired from WOZK/WOAB and all local broadcasting in 2002.
Parrish leaves a long legacy of community service, both on the air and through volunteerism. Parrish was an active member of the Ozark Rotary and Kiwanis clubs and was a charter member of the local Civitan Club.
Parrish was one of the Wiregrass's longest serving broadcasters and he shared a great love for communications. He was also well known in local amateur radio circles for his devotion to the hobby. He was a licensed radio amateur, W4IEO, for over 65 years.
I wish to extend my condolences to his wife, Jane, and his children and grandchildren for their loss. Ozark's long-time ``voice'' may now be silent, but he will be long remembered.
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