Dr JSC Parry, 1926-2010
3 September 2010
Dr John Parry, a former Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, has died. Robert Adams, Emeritus Professor of Applied Mechanics, remembers an excellent teacher, researcher and practical engineer who also had an interest in the dramatic arts.
John Parry (sometimes known as J) joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering in 1943 as an undergraduate and, as well as his studies, had to spend many nights up the Wills Tower as a fire spotter (Bristol then being under aerial attack by German bombers). Apart from a brief spell in industry, he remained in the department until he retired in 1985 as a Senior Lecturer; he continued to teach on a part-time basis until 1991. His colleagues knew him as an excellent teacher in the field of materials and mechanics and a researcher in fatigue and the behaviour of materials under high pressure and complex stresses.
John’s early work was under the wing of Professor JLM Morrison and he extended Morrison’s work on thick-walled cylinders under repeated high pressures (gun barrels) to the design of thick-walled tubes used in the production of polymers such as nylon for ICI. He also worked with IM Ward in Physics on the behaviour of polymers under shear and hydrostatic pressure. John designed and built several innovative pieces of equipment to enable these ground-breaking experiments to be carried out. He was a practical engineer par excellence, not only in the laboratory, but also in the workshop. In those days, technicians and academics were able to do minor and even major repairs on their cars in the workshop. The fount of wisdom was JSCP, who had kept his old Riley on the road, despite the odds, for many years.
But John had another side, unknown to most of his colleagues. His early years at the University were not only on the academic side, but also with DramSoc, OpSoc and Revunions. He occasionally made brief appearances on stage, but his major involvement was to look after the flys, lighting and stage, and to drive and maintain the lorry used to transport the company on summer tours. He made many friends in this group and regularly organised reunions, the last being in 2007. Those who remember John from earlier days should see the article by Pru Knowers in the 1954 Nonesuch News.
John leaves his wife, Jean, and his son, Martin. We extend our deepest sympathy to them.