Editor’s note: This obituary for longtime Nevada City resident John Parent was forwarded to me for publication. It is written by Elle Gianforte, owner at Blue Fig Creative, and it is a wonderful tribute.
Simply mention the name John Parent in this community and everyone within earshot will have a story to tell. Every. Single. Person.
John Douglas Parent had a larger-than-life personality that cannot fade even with his passing. He entered this world in Bishop, California, on April 27, 1942, and departed it from the loving comfort of his home in Nevada City on August 12, 2019, at 4:44 pm. For all of his 77 years, he left an indelible mark on the lives of the people whose paths he crossed. When he smiled, he warmed a room. When he laughed—a sound born deep in his belly—it was clear that he was amused, or entertained, or the keeper of a fabulously wicked secret.
John was an artist and a commercial interior designer. A lover of history and a collector of pottery and pressed glass. He was a fiercely loyal friend who adored dancing and made a mean martini. And when he loved, he loved big.
John fell head over heels for Nielsen Allan Locke, literally at first sight, when the two spotted each other at the Pine Inn in Carmel in 1973. They smiled, forged an instant connection, and fate took over from there. They were together for 46 years and married on October 23, 2013.
In 2000 Todd Wahoske entered their lives, bringing a gentleness, kindness, and brightness that balanced an already amazing relationship. Almost instantly, they became WeBee3—a profoundly precious trio to all who had the honor of knowing them.
John’s influence and involvement in Nevada City were boundless. He and Niel owned Parent and Locke Antiques, followed by a memorable stint as the proprietors of Java John’s. John was on the Nevada City Planning Commission for 12 years, serving as both chair and vice-chair. Refusing to retire, he mobilized his inner fashionista and worked part time at Maiden Lane and Novak’s on Broad Street. He was instrumental in the creation of Victorian Christmas, and also participated as James Buchanan in the Marching Presidents of Nevada City for several years.
Throughout his time in Nevada City, John mentored many young people, most of them employees at Java John’s. He and Niel took it upon themselves to teach the importance of values, manners, human kindness, and attention to detail. Over the years, countless former employees have shared with John how the guidance and direction he and Niel provided have enriched their lives.
John leaves behind a legacy that includes a wealth of friends and extended family who are the guardians of his stories. Their treasured memories will keep his spirit alive, spreading joy and comfort precisely the way he would want it.
A commemoration of life—John’s Big Broad Street Bash—is in the planning stages. It will begin at Java John’s, spill into Golden Era, and move down the hill to the Mine Shaft Saloon. Check John’s Facebook page or go to Java John’s in Nevada City for details.