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National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Firefighter
Age: 67
Year of Death: 2023

Joe Parish

Joe Parish, 67, a dedicated Christian, husband, father, brother, uncle, and firefighter, died on September 1, 2023, leaving behind a legacy of faith, service, and love. He is joined in heaven by his son, Jacob Ross Parish, and is survived by his wife of 42 years, Kathy Bryan Parish.

Everyone who knew Joe Parish could say they had a friend. If you knew Joe, then you loved Joe, although at some point you probably also wanted to throw something at him. He was a Godly man, hard-headed, with a goofy side he showed to those he cared for most.

Joe Parish was born on May 7, 1956, in Lufkin, Texas. For 45 years, he served his community as a firefighter for the Diboll Volunteer Fire Department. Joe was always willing to pick up a call to risk his life for strangers who needed help, while intensely loving his family and friends.

Joe was the type of man who would actually give you the shirt off his back. Once, while responding to an emergency, Joe used his own shirt as a tourniquet to save a man’s life. But Joe didn’t stop there. When the man Joe saved ended up losing his leg, Joe also built a ramp onto the man’s house to accommodate a wheelchair. So, we can say that Joe is the type of man who will give you the shirt off his own back, save your life, and be by your side to lend a hand as you recover.

Joe was self-employed for most of his life, working as a welder, equipment operator, and mechanic. He would take on any job or task, regardless of how big or small or whether he knew what he was doing at the start. As a genuine jack of all trades, Joe would figure it out. Joe never met a stranger. Anytime and anyplace, he would talk for as long as someone would stand there and listen.

In his earlier days, Joe loved spending time at the deer lease with his son, Jacob, and two longtime family friends, Gary and Jonathon Jones. Later in his life, Joe was always up for an adventure with Kathy, whether it was going bay fishing, tending goats, or gardening. He was blessed with three bonus grandchildren, Shane, Abbey, and Allie, who he loved spending time with.

Joe had scars and pain from his time on earth, but to say that Joe was a good man is an understatement. Joe died doing what made him good and what makes him so missed by those who love him—responding as quickly as possible to a call for help, using his talents to make things better. In Diboll, Joe’s legend will be spoken of as long as there are ears to hear.

Now, may Joe’s legacy be a blessing for all of us still living, as we hope to see him again in heaven. Rest easy, brother. We’ll take it from here.

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