Father William J. Parham (Father Bill) of Memphis, Tenn., passed away peacefully on July 7, 2023, after a short battle with cancer.
He was born June 9, 1949, in Memphis. He was preceded in death by his beloved parents William S. Parham and Norma L. Parham. He is survived by his sister, Rosemary (Jeff) Baranski; brother, Paul (Ivy) Parham; niece, Jennifer (Justin) Moss; nephews, Justin (Megan) Baranski and Will Baranski; and great niece, Lenzi Baranski.
Father Bill attended St. Anne Catholic School on Highland and was a member of Scout Troop 82. He was a graduate of Christian Brothers High School, Class of ’67, and a member of the CBHS Hall of Fame.
He entered the Seminary in September 1967 where he studied two years at St. Bernard College in Cullman, Ala. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Philosophy from the Catholic University of America as a Basilain Foundation Fellow of the University. He completed his studies in Theology at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.
Father Bill was ordained a Priest for the Catholic Diocese of Memphis on July 31, 1976, at St. Anne Catholic Church on Highland and began his Ministry there as an Associate Pastor and Chaplain of the Newman Center at then-Memphis State University. He was later assigned as Associate Pastor to Holy Rosary, The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and Church of the Holy Spirit and served as Spiritual Director for Cursillo in Memphis for many years.
His first Pastorate was at Church of the Ascension in 1989. He later became Pastor of St. Mary in Jackson. In 2001, he became Pastor of Church of the Incarnation in Collierville, where he designed, built, and dedicated the new church on January 21, 2007. Before his retirement in 2019, he became Chaplin for the Christian Brothers at Christian Brothers University and Chaplain of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem with rank of Knight Commander in the Order. His passion for learning and teaching also allowed him to act as spiritual advisor on several pilgrimages to the Holy Land.
After he retired, Father Bill continued to serve the church actively with the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and celebrated Holy Masses for many parishes when he was needed. He especially loved celebrating morning Masses for the students at Holy Rosary Catholic School.
Father Bill loved to cook and entertain. He had a wonderful sense of humor and never one for a short story. He had a great passion for painting and was a gifted pianist and organist. He was a former Memphis radio personality of the 30-minute show on WMC “The Catholic Hour” and movie star in “The Firm.”
In lieu of flowers, you may honor Father Bill’s memory by donating to the Holy Rosary Catholic School building fund, CBHS, or Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
— Location: St. Anne Catholic Church, 706 S Highland St., Memphis.
— Visitation: Wednesday, July 12, 5:00pm-7:00pm, Rosary at 7:00pm.
— Mass: Thursday, July 13, 10:00am, Bishop David P. Talley Presiding.
— Burial: Historic Calvary Catholic Cemetery following Mass.
“It was an honor to teach, serve and minister to all in the Diocese. My love to all, God Bless you.” Father Bill