De-Da and Be-Ma will be honored Friday by the Wylie ISD.
It’s homecoming weekend and each year the school district honors an individual, couple and/or family for their contributions to education and the Wylie community.
Two winners this year are Floyd and Addie Parris, a couple who, beginning in 1955, were employed in the district for years. Floyd Parris was in charge of the bus lines and ran one of the four lines himself, while his wife worked in the cafeteria, for 33 years after his death in 1968 for a total of 41 years in school kitchens, according to an article from Reporter-News. .
He had to stop driving a bus line when he reached the age of 65.
“But she worked until she was 80,” her grandson Rickey Parris said. She retired in the early 1980s. “After her death she wanted to keep working and keeping busy.”
They will be honored posthumously, although Parris and her sister, Carolyn, will represent the family. He attended Wylie Schools while his grandparents worked for WISD, graduating in 1968. He is known for winning the 1968 state pole vault title and winning all-round honors. America at the event at the then McMurry College.
His wife, Pug, recently retired after more than 40 years at McMurry College.
A surprise, but a beautiful one
Rickey Parris said that in all honesty he was surprised his grandparents were singled out for recognition.
“He had been gone for 54 years,” he said of his grandfather. “Not many people are going to know who they are. A few will, but most of them weren’t even there, not yet born.
“But it’s kind of nice because they were there for a long time. They were good employees for a long, long time. He loved the kids, and so did she.”
The couple were mainstays when the rural school district grew into what is now Class 5A and spanned eight campuses.
On retiring at 82 in 1988, Addie Parris said: “I watched them start in first grade and watched them graduate from high school. Then I cooked for their kids, and now your kids graduate.”
They had a property near Ovalo, just south of Tuscola. Rickey Parris liked to spend his summers there because his family lived in Abilene. He could ride a horse, hunt and fish – things a boy liked to do back then.
His grandfather was born and raised in Santa Anna, Coleman County, and graduated from high school there, as did his wife. He married Addie Meador in 1923 and they lived in the countryside over the years.
The Parris couple joined WISD after working at South Taylor High School in Tuscola, what is now Jim Ned High. The 1955 school yearbook is dedicated to him.
Floyd Parris also drove buses for schools in Bradshaw and Ovalo.
Their grandson said his grandparents were special, in that they loved what they did and working with children. This was when all of Wylie’s classes were on the red brick campus at the northeast corner of Buffalo Gap Road Antilley Roads.
“They’ve been doing this stuff all their lives,” Rickey Parris said. His grandfather was gifted as a mechanic, blacksmith and “handyman”. He died seven months after retiring in May 1967.
“He was a bit lost, really,” Rickey Parris said.
He said it was “pretty cool” to have his grandparents on campus every day. The 1960s were quieter on country school campuses, he said, but that wouldn’t have bothered him because his grandfather was respected.
The 1958 Wylie Yearbook pays tribute to him.
Rickey Parris’ family lived in Abilene, but he was a transfer student so he could play more sports than he probably could attend Abilene schools.
“I did well,” he said. His younger sister, Carolyn, also went to Wylie and was on the 1970 state championship basketball team.
Rickey Parris was the second individual state champion at Wylie and the second on track, after Dean Clark, who won the 180 yard low hurdles – today the 300 intermediate hurdles.
It was Floyd…
Pug Parris, who has heard many Parris family stories over the years, recalled this one about Floyd Parris.
One day he was driving a bus line and picked up a boy who had a quarter mile walk to where he was picked up. A puppy followed one day and then was hit by another vehicle. Parris had no choice but to load up the youngster and take the whole load to school.
“The boy was just heartbroken,” she said.
However, he told school officials what happened. They let the boy out of class and Parris drove him home. There they both buried the puppy.
“It shows compassion beyond being a bus driver,” said Pug Parris. “The stories about De-Da were forever. Every time I met someone new, they would go…Parris…Parris…are you a relative of Floyd Parris?”