BAM Biographies:   Gary A. Parsons


Gary is a 4th generation native Californian, born in Oakland. His ancestors came to California for the 1849 Gold Rush, and stayed. They worked in the mines of Sonora, founded the town of Dutch Flat, off I80, near Donner Summit, and were among the founders of National City, in Southern California.

In 1956, Gary moved from Oakland to Mtn. View, graduating from Mtn. View High. He graduated from Foothill Jr. College with an AA in Engineering, then San Jose State University with a BA in Education and MA in Social Science and a minor in Geology.

His thesis was on the sourcing of the Monterey Banded Chert. Gary has also completed the San Mateo County's Administration of Justice program (reserve police academy) from the College of San Mateo as well as EMT paramedic programs from Foothill College and the UC Medical Center in San Francisco.

He served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a radar operator and air controller and was a Lt. in the San Mateo Co., Sheriff's Reserve Rescue Unit for over 15 years. Gary worked at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) for 30 years as a Sr. Technical Illustrator, Sr. Publications Coordinator, and Assistant Supervisor of the Physical Science Publication Department. After leaving SRI, Gary became the supervisor of a print shop and facilities coordinator of a direct mail firm in San Jose.

Gary has been an avid rock-hound and member of the Sequoia Gem and Mineral Society off-and-on for over 40 years. He joined BAM many years ago when they met at Menlo College, but drifted away. After retirement in 2000, he resumed his rock collecting and became a backup instructor for Sequoia's lapidary shop at Little House in Menlo Park. Gary is (or has been) a member of the Fossils for Fun Society, the Santa Clara Valley Gem & Mineral Society, and the Peninsula Gem & Geology Society. Over the years, he has become interested in collecting thumbnail mineral specimens. In an effort to learn more about the hobby he rejoined BAM circa 2010, while the club was still meeting at Foothill College.

In addition to rock hounding, lapidary, and mineral collecting, Gary's other never-ending hobby is Genealogy. He is the Historian for the Parsons Family Association (PFA) of New England and maintains the association's massive database of over 41,000 individuals.

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