Parham, William M.

U.S. Navy Veteran Held Long Career As An Executive And Volunteered Extensively

  • Friday, January 27, 2023

William “Bill” Moore Parham, 80, of Greensboro, NC, died peacefully on January 22, 2023, at Well-Spring Retirement Community in Greensboro as a result of complications from a fall. His wife, Sara Anne T. “Cissy” Parham, and daughter, Sara Carter Spencer, were by his side.

A consummate Southern gentleman, Bill centered his life on four pillars: devotion to his family and his faith, service to his country, a wide-ranging and successful business career, and enthusiastic engagement with community and friends.

Bill was born in Chattanooga, Tn., on Sept. 15, 1942, the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Carter Marcellus Parham of Lookout Mountain, Tn. He was a graduate of McCallie School in Chattanooga and received a BS degree in business from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Bill began his long and honorable service to his country at McCallie, which had a military focus at the time. He was a Battalion Captain and member of Dunlap Rifles, a precision drill team. At UNC-CH, Bill was a member of the US Navy ROTC unit and then its Battalion Commander. At graduation, he was awarded the Triangle Council of the Navy League of the United States Sword, designating him as Carolina’s outstanding military cadet. He also received the Sons of the American Revolution “Minute Man” award and was a member of Scabbard and Blade, the national honorary military society. Following graduation, Bill was commissioned as an Ensign in the US Navy. He served two tours of duty on the USS Brush, a destroyer operating in the South China Sea. He was awarded a Vietnam Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Vietnam Campaign Medal. After his active duty, Bill joined the US Naval Reserve and retired as a Lieutenant Commander.

Following his active naval service, Bill went to The Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia where he received his MBA. At Darden, he was secretary-treasurer of the student body. He later served as secretary of the Alumni Association and was on the alumni board for many years.

Bill joined Burlington Industries in 1969 and worked there for 23 years in a number of divisions and roles. Among these were executive vice president of operations for Burlington’s Blended Fabrics Division in New York and executive vice president of finance and administration for Burlington Carpet Group in New York, Valley Forge, PA, and Greensboro.

Weave Corporation, an upholstery manufacturer, then hired Bill as its executive vice president, chief operating officer, and chief financial officer. The company had offices in Manhattan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. His responsibilities included work with suppliers and operations in China and Pakistan. After 10 years with Weave, Bill continued international work on a range of projects with Takata Corporation and was a consultant for a number of local companies.

Bill’s volunteer service ranged from medicine to sports. His membership on the Wake Forest Medical Center Cancer Advisory Board was particularly meaningful because of the care he received at Wake Forest during his battle with cancer beginning in 2009. He was an enthusiastic member of the Greensboro Sports Council, working at many sporting events in Greensboro. He particularly enjoyed serving as a host to a variety of teams for the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. And, of course, Bill was a Tar Heel to the core. Regular attendance at Kenan Stadium and the Dean Dome was a fact of life for Bill and his family. Regular golf games with friends were important dates on his calendar. He often saw the sun rise with the fellow members of the GIRLS walking group.

Bill was part of a large and loving family. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Sara Anne “Cissy” Trott Parham, a daughter Sara Carter Spencer (Matt), and his grandchildren, McCarthy and Porter Spencer. He was preceded in death by his older daughter, Mary Moore Parham. His extended family includes his older brother, John Parham (Lee) of Lookout Mountain, TN, and his sister, Melissa Parham Musgrove (Tom-deceased) of Huntsville, AL. Brothers- and sisters-in-law are Scott Trott (Brenda) of Kannapolis, NC; Ed Trott (Polly) of Stamford, CT; Michael Trott (Wendy) of Reston,VA; Bob Trott (Barbara) of Greenville, NC; and Andy Trott (Kelley) of Terrell, NC. In addition Bill had 16 nieces and nephews and 22 great nieces and nephews.

Bill’s life was long and full. He experienced many challenges and opportunities and many joys and sorrows. Throughout it all, he, like the Navy man he was, kept to a true course -- fiercely loyal to those he loved, determined to persevere through stormy weather and rough seas, kind and thoughtful, generous and cheerful. He was an inspiration to many.

A memorial service for Bill will be held at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28. The family will receive friends after the service in the Haywood Duke Room at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Holy Trinity Episcopal Church Foundation, 607 N. Greene St., Greensboro 27401; Well-Spring Wait Staff Scholarship Fund, 4100 Well-Spring Drive, Greensboro 27410; Sanctuary House, 518 N. Elm St., Greensboro 27401; Kellin Foundation, 2110 Golden Gate Dr., Suite B, Greensboro 27405; or a mental health group of your choice.

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