Richard William Parsons, a retired Baltimore County librarian who also spent nearly 50 years as a residential advocate for Towson, died of cancer Monday at his Woodbine Avenue home. He was 87.
Born in Victoria, British Columbia, he was the son of Thomas Parsons, a commandant of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Laura Lyons, a homemaker. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Slavic languages at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and had a master’s degree in library science from McGill University. As a young librarian, he drove, often in sub-zero temperatures, in a bookmobile converted from a Toronto transit bus. He also worked summers for the Hudson’s Bay Company.
He became a staff member in the Brooklyn, N.Y., public library system, where he met his future wife, Jane Wallace Amos. While in New York, Mr. Parsons immersed himself in classical music and attended performances at the old Metropolitan Opera House and Carnegie Hall.
He joined the Baltimore County Public Library in 1962 and held the post of coordinator of adult services. A Baltimore Sun article published at his arrival said that the library was then “hopelessly overcrowded” and experiencing growing pains.