Joseph Downey Parkinson, 77, died on May 5, 2020 in Safety Harbor, Florida due to complications from COVID-19.
Joe was born on March 10, 1943 in California, Pennsylvania, to Dr. Thomas H. Parkinson and Constance Mabel Edwards Parkinson. As a youth, he enjoyed hunting pheasant and spending time in the outdoors with his father and his older brother at their family cabin. He graduated from California High School in 1961, where he played basketball and football.
Joe received a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education/Chemistry from California University of Pennsylvania in 1966. That same year, he married Ada Nicole Venaleck. They were married for 30 years and had 3 children. He went on to earn his Master of Arts degree in Secondary Education/Biological Science at West Virginia University in 1968. While attending graduate school, he taught high school chemistry and physics in the Taylor County School District in Grafton, West Virginia. Joe was working towards a doctorate degree at WVU when he accepted a job as a United States Postal Inspector in Buffalo, New York in 1971. He was a member of the Mail Fraud Squad and was a Strike Force Representative to the United State’s Attorney’s Office investigating Organized Crime. In 1984, he became a Senior United States Probation Officer in Buffalo, where he implemented the electronic monitoring and house arrest program for the Western District of New York Parole/Probation Department. Joe retired from the government in 2000 and became an Assistant Professor at Hilbert College in Hamburg, New York; first in the Criminal Justice Department and later the Forensic Science Department. From 2000 until 2010, he also worked as a Special Investigator for the FBI and a Contract Investigator for the United States Custom Service, the Department of the Treasury and the United States Department of Defense.
Despite the seriousness of his work, Joe managed to bring a sense of levity to the office. He enjoyed making people laugh, and he had a unique, dry sense of humor. Joe enjoyed coaching his children in sports and he never missed one of their games. Growing up in suburban Pittsburgh, Joe was a lifelong Steelers fan. He was also a fan of the Buffalo Bills and was a season ticket holder for many years. After he retired from teaching in 2013, he resided near his son in Lexington, KY and then in Greenville, NC, and most recently, he moved to Palm Harbor, FL in 2018 to be closer to his daughters.
He was a past President of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Buffalo Chapter, and a member of the National Rifle Association. Joe was a 3rd degree Mason with the Monongahela Valley Lodge 461 in California, PA, with 50 years of membership.
Joe was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Thomas H. Parkinson, of Asheville, NC. He is survived by his son, Dr. Joseph William Parkinson, of Greenville, NC, and his wife, Bridget Anne; two daughters, Jo Dee McVea LaBombard of Port Richey, FL and her husband, Charles James LaBombard and Anne Nicole Theisen of Palm Harbor, FL and her husband, Thomas George Belden; a sister, Leslie Ann Parkinson, of California, PA, and a sister-in-law, Joan Murphy Parkinson; and five grandchildren, Jonathan Robert Blasco, Madison Elizabeth McVea Press, Rylee Anne McVea, Hannah Jo Theisen, and Tyler Joseph Parkinson.
A private memorial service celebrating Joe’s life will take place at a time and date to be determined. Interment will be alongside his parents and his brother at Highland Cemetery in California, PA. Arrangements are being handled by the Mariscotti Funeral Home, Inc., Anthony N. Mariscotti, Supervisor, 323 Fourth Street, California, PA.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to a charity supporting those impacted by COVID-19, such as Partners in Health, Save the Children, or Medical Teams International, or to the charity of one’s choice. A list of top-rated charities that support COVID-19 relief can be found online at https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=7864.
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