Derek Parrott, beloved Whidbey Island musician, dies at 63

Derek Parrott plays his guitar in Kuaui, Hawaii where he lived for a time. - Photo courtesy of Derek Parrott
Derek Parrott plays his guitar in Kuaui, Hawaii where he lived for a time.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Derek Parrott

Longtime Whidbey Island resident and singer-songwriter Derek Parrott died at home in Langley on Friday, March 25 at the age of 63.

Diagnosed with terminal esophageal cancer in December 2010, the much-loved musician stopped breathing at 4:55 p.m. Friday, with his daughter Kathryn Parrott and his ex-wife and close friend, Jeanie Dodd, at his side.

Dodd said his death was a graceful one.

“Kathryn and I were by his side, and it was sort of perfect,” Dodd said.

“Kathryn told him she would love him forever and that she and Mommy would be all right and that he could let go. He took three long, spaced-apart breaths and was gone,” she said.

Parrott was born in London on Nov. 23, 1947. His music career officially began in 1977, but was preceded by a whirlwind of friendships with other musicians such as Bob Dylan and Donovan, with whom he appeared in the documentary film of their tour of England, “Don’t Look Back.” Parrott recorded several albums, which include “Open Up,” “My Back Yard,” “2000 A.D.” and “Ancient and Modern.”

Parrott returned to Whidbey Island from Kuaui, Hawaii after being diagnosed with cancer, and was recently celebrated by his friends at a well-attended benefit at Mukilteo Coffee Roasters on March 17. Dodd said the benefit was cathartic and that the fast-declining Parrott worked hard to build up his energy to attend the event, at which he performed.

After he died, Dodd said there was relief that any pain he had been feeling was gone. She also said she sensed that although he couldn’t communicate verbally, he moved his eyes, and his daughter and she sensed that he knew they were with him.

“Something good had happened,” Dodd said, “And we were sad, but felt happy, too.”

“It feels really nice in his room,” Dodd said. “All his beaming, bright shining energy was left in his room. It feels like a blessed and sacred place.”

The family will hold a memorial service on May 1 on Whidbey Island; the location will be announced in an upcoming edition of the Record.



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