Yesterday, the Mission Aviation Fellowship announced the passing of its former President and Chairman of the Board, J. Grady Parrott. Parrott had passed away earlier on May 2 from pneumonia. He was 95 years old.
Parrot was esteemed within the Christian community worldwide and beloved by the staff and alumni of Redlands-based MAF. As president, Parrott molded Mission Aviation Fellowship into a worldwide operation. Today, the ministry operates a fleet of 62 aircrafts throughout 16 countries including Africa, Asia, Eurasia, and Latin America. MAF flies some 3.2 million miles each year in remote regions of the world in support of nearly 600 Christian and humanitarian organizations. In addition to aviation MAF provides communications services to isolated areas worldwide including e-mail, HF/VHF radios, Internet access, and networking solutions as well as distance education.
It was in January 1945, that Parrott, an advanced flight instructor for the US Army Air Corp at the time, contacted Betty Green about a new organization called Christian Airman’s Missionary Fellowship (now known as Mission Aviation Fellowship). But it wasn’t until May of that same year, that he joined the fledgling organization as its first Vice President, and eventually named its first President in August of 1949.
In 1959, Queen Julian of the Netherlands honored MAF for its pioneering work in the colony during a ceremony that Parrott and his wife Maureen participated in. On May 1, 1963, the colony became a part of the independent nation of Indonesia. In recognition of its value to the local people, the new national government invited MAF to continue its operations. Today, the two largest MAF programs are located in Indonesia.
In 1970, Parrott stepped own as president and assumed the role of Chairman of the Board. He continued his extraordinary service until his retirement in 1982. Parrott also served as President of the Gideons of Arizona, a charter member of the Phoenix Business Men’s Committee and as a board member of the Mexican Gospel Mission.
Parrott is survived by his two children, five grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren. Maureen, his wife of 70 years passed away on December 24, 2003. Memorial services for Parrott were held earlier today at 11AM at Calvary Church in Placentia, California.