Service honors friend to everybody

John Hult

John Hult

A message of thanks for a life fully lived provided friends and family with hope during Monday night’s memorial service for Donnie Parsons, the SDSU sophomore and Jacks running back who died of an asthma attack on Sunday, September 14.

Pastor Bob Chell of the University Lutheran Center presided over the service, which was held at the University Lutheran Center.

Friends, supporters, teammates and acquaintences piled into the ULC at 6 p.m. The service’s ushers had to pull two pews out of the Center’s greeting area and about a half-dozen chairs from its sitting room to accommodate a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd.

Chell began the service with a prayer, then led the congregation in singing “Amazing Grace.”

After the hymn, the congregation participated in a responsive reading from the 121st Psalm.

Anthony Watson, a friend and teammate to Parsons, read from Romans and Isaiah before Chell began his homily with the parable of the rich fool from the Gospel of Luke.

In the parable, God tells a rich man not to measure his wealth in terms of possessions, but in terms of kindness.

“Donnie Parsons was a rich young man,” Chell said. “One of his friends said that he made you feel like you belonged.”

Chell referred several times to the coversations he had had over the past week with the friends and teammates of Parsons. Chell spoke of his love of life, intelligence and athletic gifts, but above all, he spoke of Parsons’s humor.

“One of his friends said you couldn’t get mad at him, because he’d make you laugh. You just had to,” Chell said.

Parsons’s humor will be the strongest memory for sophomore linebacker Tyler Trees, as well.

He said that seeing the overcrowded sanctuary was something he expected for his teammate.

“Donnie was a friend to everybody-he was just really outgoing,” Trees said.

Perhaps the strongest message of the service was a message of optimism that came from a conversation Pastor Chell had with Parsons’ mother before Donnie’s Friday funeral in Omaha.

“She said, ‘Donnie accomplished more in 19 years than most people accomplish in a lifetime.'”