A HUMBLE LIFE WELL LIVED
Charles William Parrott, Jr. was born February 27, 1930, in Memphis, Tennessee. His father, Charles, Sr. was a maintenance man at the old Ford Motor Company plant on Riverside Drive. His mother, Mary Blanche, became an LPN and worked at St. Joseph’s Hospital in the emergency room. Charles, Jr. (Charlie) eventually had two brothers, one 11 years and the other 16 years his junior. He attended Southside High School and went on to get his Bachelors Degree at Memphis State University. At one point he had to leave school to work for the Post Office to earn money to go back. He ended up serving in Korea with the Army Infantry. Upon his return in 1953, he was able to finish school on the GI Bill and enrolled in medical school.
Laura Ann MacDougall was born December 3, 1936, in Braintree, Massachusetts. Her father, John Wallace MacDougall, was a fireman, then a railroad engineer, and drove for City Oil. (According to Dr. Parrott, his father-in-law had the ability to set out and do whatever he dreamed of doing.) Laura’s mother, Mildred Ruth, was a kindergarten teacher. Laura had one older sister and a younger brother and sister. She graduated from Braintree High School and went on to earn her RN at the Children’s Hospital School of Nursing in Boston. She worked as a scrub nurse for Dr. Gross, who was a pioneer in children’s cardiology. Because of her experience, she was offered a job at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital, wherein 1958, she assisted with the first successful open heart surgery on a child.
At that time, Laura was living at the Park Tower Apartments, which was walking to distance to work, and Charlie just happened to be living at LeBonheur while attending UT Memphis Medical School. Charlie was able to earn tuition money, room and board by cleaning medical equipment and assisting at the hospital. One of the pieces of equipment he cleaned was a Heart and Lung Machine, used by Laura, they became friends.
Charlie, Laura and their friends would have pizza parties and would spend the day on McKellar Lake in Charlie’s father’s boat. They were having a great time and working hard. On December 20, 1959, they were married in Laura’s hometown. The newlyweds had to be back in Memphis for New Year’s, so they honeymooned at Niagra Falls – with only one other couple – it was freezing cold in December, but beautiful.
Charlie finished school at UT that year and went to work for Baptist Memorial Hospital. They lived at 653 Jefferson Avenue, then moved to Whitehaven, where Charlie opened his practice at 4299 Highway 51 South. They had four children, Chip, Linda, Thomas and John. Laura stayed at home once Linda was born. They enjoyed life. The kids went to private school, they had a place on the lake, they loved fishing – Charlie claims he’s caught more crappie than any man in the south – Laura was a Girl Scout Leader, Charlie was involved in the Boy Scouts and they attended Whitehaven Baptist Church, where Charlie taught Sunday School. In 1988, the kids were grown and Charlie sold his practice.
Charlie then worked for the IC Railroad out of New Orleans, they were able to ride the train for free. He had a list of doctors the train workers could see and opened an extended hours clinic just for them.
Charlie and Laura moved to Gulf Shores, Alabama. They lived on the beach for seven years then finally built a house just north of there. They both played golf, and Laura even became the women’s champion for two years at Craft Farms. Charlie would travel to Indian reservations in Oklahoma and Nevada providing healthcare to those without access. He was instrumental in having “Samaritan Laws” changed to get people help without being sued. They opened free clinics in Alabama with the help of the Alabama Medical Society. The clinics were staffed entirely by volunteers helping those without insurance, most of which were migrant workers. They gave away samples of meds and talked to the local hospital into delivering babies, doing x-rays and more. With the success of the free clinics, they began looking into a permanent retirement plan.
They looked around Mobile, Alabama, but Charlie’s aunt had lived at Kirby Pines, and their children lived closer by. The family also grew to include children’s spouses and nine grandchildren. After learning about LifeCare, their decision was made and they moved to Kirby Pines in August of 2010. They love the beautiful grounds and are thankful for the security they have. They stay active and involved in so many things, but say they don’t do as much as they used to. Charlie is in charge of the Garden Club – with the help of Laura – he tinkers in the Hobby Shop, is a member of the Men’s Christian Fellowship and started up the Red Ribbon Project, also known at Kirby as the Prayer Warriors. Laura participates in Water Aerobics, Garden Club and volunteers at The Blossom Shop, to name a few. They are always willing to help, always have a smile on their faces and are two of the nicest people you will ever meet. So Thank You, Charlie and Laura, for deciding to make Kirby Pines your forever home.