By Erin Mansfield, VTDigger.org
Hearts went out to Marselis Parsons’ family on Wednesday, May 27, when Channel 3 News announced that the veteran news anchor had lost his battle with skin cancer. He had received treatment for several months before he died on Wednesday morning at a hospice care facility in Williston.
Parsons, who was 70, had retired from his job as anchor of the evening news on WCAX in 2009, but his daily reports had been a household staple for many Vermonters.
Members of the public, journalists, state leaders and friends offered their condolences to the family Wednesday, including his wife, Julie Parsons; his daughter and son-in-law, Susan and Willy; and his baby granddaughter, Pippa.
Parsons joined WCAX as a reporter in 1967 and moved up to evening news anchor and news director in 1984. He joined the Lake Champlain Yacht Club as a power boater in 1977 and skippered a collection of antique wooden boats.
“He would always ask fair questions, but probably the ones the public wanted to ask,” said WCAX News Director Anson Tebbetts, who worked for Parsons before succeeding him.
Curiosity, integrity, honesty, toughness and fairness were some of Parsons’ greatest qualities, he said.
Kristin Carlson worked as a news reporter for WCAX for 14 years before moving to Green Mountain Power. Carlson said he was a tremendous mentor for young journalists. She said he kept a sparkle in his eye right up until she saw him about two weeks ago.
Gov. Peter Shumlin called the news “a huge loss” for the state. “He was Vermont’s Walter Cronkite, a trusted and respected news figure who helped us understand our state and the events that shaped it,” Shumlin said in a statement.
When Parsons signed off from his final newscast in 2009, he thanked Vermonters for letting him be a guest in their homes for so many years.