The Geelong Grammar School community remember Boz, who passed away on Thursday 1 February, fondly and gratefully as an exceptional student (1931-36), an inspirational staff member (Staff 1962-80), an active Old Geelong Grammarian (OGG Secretary 1979-88, OGG Fellow), a donor and member of the Geelong Grammar Foundation. We celebrate Boz’s distinguished service as a teacher, housemaster, World War II veteran and pilot of great regard.
Boz began his association with the School in his primary school years when he attended the Geelong Church of England Preparatory School, which formally became part of GGS in 1933, continuing on to Junior School at Corio in 1931-32 and to Senior School in 1933-1936 as a student in Manifold House (thanks to the Bertie Manifold Scholarship). Boz’s time as a student, and an athlete, is well-documented on honour boards throughout the School. “I was a scholarship boy, and I felt very indebted to the School; I felt it was incumbent upon me to do the best I could,” Boz said. “I think that’s what spurred me on to achieve better than I expected to achieve.”
Boz continued on to Trinity College at Melbourne University after GGS, graduating with a Bachelor of Science and Honours in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry.
After university, Boz served in the RAAF during World War II. Boz was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the citation mentioned “a capable pilot, (who had) shown ability to carry out any type of operational flying coolly and skilfully”, and “special missions by night in conjunction with the Australian Army”. 1943 saw Boz Mentioned in Despatches in the New Year’s Honours List (with 25 missions already to his credit), and in 1944 he was Mentioned in Despatches again.
In 1947, Boz moved to Adelaide where he married Barbara Cane and soon added two sons and a daughter to the Parsons family. Bill (M’69), David (M’66) and Jane (Li’73) all attended Geelong Grammar School. In 1961, the family moved to Ceres and, in 1962, Boz’s decision to teach and to join the Staff at GGS would lead to 19 years of service at Corio. In his time at the School, he taught Agricultural Science and Chemistry but also took on the roles of Acting Housemaster of Manifold House (1964), Housemaster of Manifold House (1965-78), Senior Housemaster to Master of Corio (1977-78), Acting Master of Corio (1978) and Master of Corio (late 1978-79). “I went through Manifold House as a boy and would go on to become a Housemaster of Manifold House. The Manifold tradition within me was very strong.”
Boz was profiled in 100 Exceptional Stories, published in 2014 to celebrate 100 years of Corio Campus. In his profile, Anson Cameron (M’78) concluded- “This noble little man had been forced to stare at cold eternity before suddenly, fortune did an about-face and presented him with new life to nurture. In the few serene hours after lights-out in Manifold, when he stopped to think about it, this must have seemed an extraordinary gift to Boz, that house of young lives. He certainly seemed an extraordinary gift to us.”
“Boz was an icon of our School and his loss will be felt keenly across our community,” Rebecca Cody, Principal, said on Thursday. “Having received a scholarship to attend our School, Boz felt a debt of gratitude which he repaid many times over through distinguished service to his beloved light blue, particularly as legendary Housemaster of Manifold House. May his example of service and leadership remain as inspiration for future generations through the Boz Parsons Scholarship, which supports rural and regional students to access a Geelong Grammar School education.”
“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Boz Parsons and extend our School community’s sympathies to his immediate family.”