Springfield volunteer leaves teaching and service legacy

Springfield News-Sun

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Springfield News-Sun

Paul Parlato, 78, died on May 30, after serving as a dean at Wittenberg University, a Clark County Mental Health Foundation board member, a musician and a volunteer.

One of his sons, David Parlato, described his father as “passionate” in all of his endeavours.

“He was a great communicator, extremely thoughtful,” said David Parlato. “He was extremely caring.”

Parlato received a Ph.D. in English from the University of Notre Dame after studying five years in the Seminary of the Josephite Fathers, a Catholic society devoted to serving African American communities since the Civil War.

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Most of Parlato’s career was spent as a dean in adult higher education, beginning at Point Park College, located in Pittsburgh and then ending, after 26 years, at Wittenberg University.

“He loved to teach and advise students,” David Parlato said. “He spent a lot of his own energy thinking about others.”

After arriving at Wittenberg in 1981, he assumed co-directorship of the Community Leadership Academy, a partnership that has since helped develop more than a thousand area leaders.

Parlato was most passionate about three things, his son David said, teaching, community beautification and music.

In his retirement from Wittenberg, Parlato served on several non-profit boards, most recently the Clark County Mental Health Foundation.

He served for three years as the executive director for the Hollandia Gardens Association, where he was a vital part of helping the Springfield Kiwanis construct the Children’s Garden in Springfield, according to Earl Robinson, president of the Hollandia Gardens Association.

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“Paul was instrumental in that process,” Robinson said.

He also sang with the Springfield Symphony Chorale and frequently volunteered to play piano for patients in the lobby of Mercy Health - Springfield.

Parlato is preceded in death by his wife of 46 years, Rita. He also had two sons, David and Steven, daughter-in-law, Christine, granddaughters, Nicole and Alexandra and companion, Jill Melfi.

Services for Parlato will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 7 at the Littleton & Rue Funeral Home. Memorial donations are welcome at the Parlato Fund of the Springfield Foundation.

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