Jesse J. Parrish (1877 - 1948 — Inducted 1962
Jesse J. Parrish was born in 1877 in Bowling Green, Florida, where his family owned a ten acre grove. As he grew older, he became a major grower and shipper. He is credited with being a pioneer of citrus in the Indian River area.
Around the turn of the century, Parrish helped found several important companies, the first of which was the Egan, Fickett & Company. He also founded Nevins Fruit Co., Inc., which was one of the first shipping associations in the state. The first Nevins label appeared on the market in 1898. Parrish yet again was the founder of the Florida Citrus Production Credit Association, for which he became president.
Parrish also had a long career as a public servant, serving 24 years in the Florida legislature. He first served as a representative, then later a senator from Brevard County. Senator Parrish held the distinction of "never losing a citrus battle" in the legislature. He served as chairman of the Citrus Committee of the State Senate as well as President of the Senate. While in the legislature, he co-sponsored the bill which created the Florida Citrus Commission and he also helped to secure the Federal Marketing Agreement on citrus. He also served on the Shippers Advisory Committee.
Jesse J. Parrish (1912 - 1989) — Inducted 1988
On December 10, 1912, Jesse J. Parish, Jr. was born in his family's Titusville home, which was fittingly situated in their fields of citrus groves. Parrish attended the University of Florida, earned a law degree and returned to Titusville where he opened a practice and continued his family's citrus operations. At the outbreak of World War Two, Parrish joined the military, eventually attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel. Except for college and his military service, Parrish lived his entire life in Titusville
Parrish's father, Jesse Parrish, Sr. served many years in the Florida Legislature, and was Senate president for 1929 and 1930. Parrish Jr. dedicated himself to his family's extensive citrus holdings and the packing and sales operation of Nevins Fruit Company, which he headed for forty years. Parrish could be described as a great believer in the citrus establishment. He always advocated for the uniting of the citrus industry under one common cause, to attain the greatest benefits for all involved. In 1949 Parrish helped lead an effort to write the state's Citrus code, which developed the basic quality requirements for citrus.
According to newspaperwoman Nancy Hardy, Parrish's regular work clothes consisted of seersucker suites and Panama straw hats in the summer, and blue pin-stripes and grey felt in the winter. Those elegant clothes, very different from the casual plaid shirts and half-boots of most citrus growers, allowed Parrish to always be ready for upcoming board meetings and community sessions, of which there were an abundance. Parrish served on a great number of organizations, the most prominent perhaps being the original United Growers and Shippers Foundation.
Along with the United Growers and Shippers Foundation, Parrish either worked as a member of the board or as an officer of the Florida Citrus Commission, Florida Citrus Mutual, Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, Shippers Advisory Committee, Joint Citrus Industry Legislative Committee, Florida Fresh Citrus Shippers Association, Indian River Citrus League, Florida Citrus Grapefruit Committee, and the Florida Orange Marketers. Throughout his life Parrish assisted various legislative committees in their drafting of legislation for the Citrus Industry. Industry representatives used to joke that if they could just figure out how to get him on the board of the Florida Citrus Processors Association he could have a meeting of the JCILC (Joint Citrus Industry Legislative Committee) all by himself.
Despite his soft-spoken attributes and his laid back personality, Parrish often made the fullness of his presence felt. Florida Citrus Mutual executive VP Bobby F. McKown praised Parrish for "his willingness to become involved in any organization, industry, statewide or national, where he felt his presence could benefit citrus growers. He was a fine gentleman in everything he did." In March of 1988, one year before his death, Parrish was inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame, along with William G. Strickland. At the age of 76, Parrish died at Jess Parrish Memorial Hospital, named for his late father. Parrish will be remembered by many in Titusville for his love of the Indian River citrus industry and its people.
A formal oral history interview done by the University of Florida with J.J. Parrish, Jr.: ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00006409/00001/1j