White Rock’s business community is reeling this morning from the loss of one of its champions.
Longtime businessman Terry Parr died suddenly Friday morning (May 6) at Peace Arch Hospital, South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce executive director Doug Hart confirmed.
It was “totally unexpected,” Hart said.
“We’re totally in shock here. I met with Terry yesterday afternoon and he was his usual self.
“It’s hard to fathom and believe that he’s gone.”
It’s believed Parr suffered a heart attack.
Parr, who was in his 60s, owned Parfour Signs and Printing in Central Plaza. He has played an active role in the city’s business community for many years, including terms as president of both the South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce and the White Rock Business Improvement Association. He was also a Rotarian.
Hart described the father and grandfather as “one of the driving forces behind a new vision and economic growth and prosperity for the City of White Rock.”
“That was his passion, to do everything he could to help White Rock and work with White Rock. He gave his energy to the city.”
Parr had a bigger-than-life personality, Hart added.
“You always knew where you stood with Terry,” he said.
“He’s going to be sadly missed.”
Mayor Catherine Ferguson, who was a friend of Parr’s, agreed. She described him as “a big part of the community.”
“He had his rough side, his gruff side, but he was a softy inside,” she said. “He was sort of the hub. A lot of people would come to Terry and talk about things.
“It’s going to leave a big hole in the community, for sure. He was a very special person and I hope he knew how much he was appreciated.”
Parr moved to the Semiahmoo Peninsula in 1975 – before Semiahmoo Shopping Centre was built.
He got into the printing business after more than 15 years in the contract food service business and an unsuccessful effort to buy a pub.
Parr told Peace Arch News in 2008 that he and a friend had the business savvy to make a go of owning a pub, but couldn’t swing the finances. It’s just as well – “our wives weren’t too excited about the pub business,” Parr joked.
“We just continued on down the line of p’s and got into printing.”
Parr owned Zippy Print – the parent company’s first Vancouver franchise – for about 10 years before it was bought out. It was then he decided to do something local. Printing and signs turned out to be the winning combination. Parfour has been in Central Plaza 17 years.
Parr got involved with the BIA at its launch in 2004. When he took on the role of president in 2008, he described the association as “a very good thing” for White Rock. It helped get business people involved in promoting themselves, he said.
Parr was also supportive of Tourism White Rock, an initiative championed by the BIA to help the city develop a vibrant year-round tourism economy.