WINDHAM – Roger Parlin, a 20-year veteran of the Maine State Police and longtime field director for the Maine State Employees Association, died unexpectedly Friday after suffering a stroke. He was 79.

Mr. Parlin was a dedicated state trooper who patrolled the Maine Turnpike for many years. He was a sergeant when he retired in 1975. Soon after, he was hired by the state employees union, working as a field director for 20 years.

His daughter, Cheryl Parlin of Augusta, said Tuesday that her father was a passionate advocate for state workers. He was approachable and well-respected among union members, she said.

“He was passionate about helping people,” his daughter said. “When it came to state employee contracts, he fought for us tooth and nail. He always wanted the best for us.”

Most recently, he worked for Shaw’s supermarkets for 12 years.

Mr. Parlin grew up in western Maine and graduated from Farmington High School in 1951. He joined the Marine Corps and served during the Korean War.

Mr. Parlin was married twice — well, technically, three times.

He was married to Betty Parlin for a total of 36 years — 24 while they raised five children before divorcing, and 12 more after they tied the knot again around 1990. Betty Parlin died in 2002.

He is survived by his wife, Connie Parlin of Windham. The couple got married on Dec. 28, 2010, and enjoyed spending time at their camp in Phillips. Cheryl Parlin said they were very happy together.

“It was probably the best relationship ever,” she said. “They made each other so happy. They did everything together. They were like two schoolkids … always smiling, laughing and joking.”

Mr. Parlin was described by his family Tuesday as a supportive, accepting and loving father, who encouraged his children to pursue their dreams.

“He was a great father,” said his son, Dan Parlin of Boston. “He gave me a sense of right and wrong without being overly patriarchal. … He encouraged us to do what was right for us. He was very supportive, always.”

Mr. Parlin had a passion for fishing, hunting and snowmobiling. For many years, he enjoyed going to his family camp in Elliotsville Township, where he fished on Onawa Lake.

Another son, Richard Parlin of Gorham, said Tuesday that his father went to camp four or five times a year.

“We had a blast,” Richard Parlin said. “He loved getting together with his buddies sitting around the table, having a beer and telling fishing and hunting stories.”

Mr. Parlin died Friday after suffering a massive stroke that morning.

He also had been diagnosed with bladder cancer about 12 years ago and underwent numerous surgeries. In December, the cancer had returned. He was supposed to start his treatment Tuesday. Doctors gave him an 80 percent chance of the treatment being successful.

On the night before he died, Mr. Parlin was preparing for the historic blizzard that battered Maine. Dan Parlin said his father was looking forward to going snowmobiling.

“He was excited for the snow,” he said. “No one saw this coming.”

 

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

mcreamer@pressherald.comPASSAGES

Each day the newsroom selects one obituary and seeks to learn more about the life of a person who has lived and worked in Maine. We look for a person who has made a mark on the community or the person’s family and friends in lasting ways.