American Veteran 04

William Lamonte " Poppi" Parsons

November 26, 1939 ~ May 25, 2022 (age 82)

Obituary Image

Obituary

William Lamonte Parsons, 82, transitioned to everlasting on May 25, 2022 at home surrounded by loved ones. Lamonte was born in Danville, Illinois, on November 26, 1939,to Billy and Genevieve Parsons, and was the first of four children born to this union. He was a graduate of Danville Schlarman High School, and served in the United States Army for six years. Lamonte married the love of his life, Edna McClain, in 1969 and together they shared a fulfilling 53 years. Affectionately known as ‘Poppi’ to his family, he was a proudfather of four and grandfather of eight. 

Lamonte was one of the first African American engineers for the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad, a position few men of color were hired into. As one of few African American engineers across the country, Lamonte eventually retired from Illinois Central Gulfand took on auxiliary assignments where he would drive for Amtrak.

In addition, he was passionate about the growth and development of his people. He instilled the importance of community and appreciation of the arts into his children and grandchildren. He was an avid golfer and a member of the Duck Hookers of Champaign. He was also a runner for many yearsand took interest in Karate, mystic spirituality, Chess and shooting pool. Above all these interests was an enduring love for music. Lamonte’s passion for the jazz guitar was unparalleled. He was driven to master Jazz, the genre of music he often referred to as African American classical music. Wes Montgomery was his biggest influence, and his style was similar to Montgomery’s. He had a way of plucking the strings with the side of his thumb, and his use of octaves gave him a distinctive sound. He would also use a pick to achieve asingular harmonic tone to cord changes. In addition to being self-taught to read and write music, Lamonte composed many original tunes. He perfected his craft through a lifelongcommitment to his instrument. He played with many pioneering Jazz musicians who came through Central Illinois.

Lamonte leaves behind to cherish his memories: his wife Edna (McClain) Parsons; his sons: Tracy Parsons of Urbana, IL and Keon Parsons of Chicago, IL; a daughter: Kelly (Phil) Edwardsof Savoy, IL; two brothers: Stanley Parsons of Racine, WI and Doran Parsons of Danville, IL; his sister, Margo Robinson of Central FL, and his grandchildren: Camille Parsons, Grant Parsons, Gabrielle Parsons, Darien Edwards, Devin Edwards, Amaya Edwards, Kiana Parsons and Khalil Parsons. He was preceded in death by his parents, Billy and Genevieve Parsons, and a daughter, Monica Philpott.

It is with great love that we honor and celebrate William Lamonte Parsons (Poppi).

 

A Homegoing Celebration will commence at 12:00 Noon on Wednesday June 1,2022 at Morning Star Freewill Baptist Church 1402 W. Eads Street Urbana. Eulogist: Pastor Jimmie O. Holmes, Sr. A visitation will begin at 11:00 am until the time of the service. Burial will follow after at Woodlawn Cemetery.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of William Lamonte " Poppi" Parsons, please visit our floral store.

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Services

Visitation
Wednesday
June 1, 2022

11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Morning Star Free Will Baptist
1402 W Eads St.
Urbana, IL 61801

Funeral Service
Wednesday
June 1, 2022

12:00 PM
Morning Star Free Will Baptist
1402 W Eads St.
Urbana, IL 61801

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