Article image

by Author Unknown

April 27, 2007

Open water swimming ambassador

David J. Parcells, 49 of Branford, formerly of Madison, passed away April 21, 2007 while competing in the Tampa Bay Marathon Swim in Florida. He was born in 1958 in New Haven. He is the son of Robert and Miriam (Quinn) Parcells of Milford, and Jensen Beach, Fla. David is survived by his parents, his loving children, Jenna and Matthew Parcells, brother, Robert Parcells and wife Beth of Wallingford, sister, Paula Wendland and husband Edward of Charlotte, N.C. David is also survived by his three nephews and niece, William and Sarah Parcells, and Edward and Eric Wendland, loving aunts, uncles and friends from around the world.

David graduated from West Haven High School in 1976 and graduated from Providence College in 1980. David earned his CPA in 1982 and was a Senior Manager with Arthur Andersen, VP of Swiss Army Brands and most recently CFO of Garrity Industries of Madison. David was an accomplished athlete. He completed the 1989 Iron Man Triathlon in Hawaii. David was the first non-professional swimmer to complete the Long Island Swim crossing and is the current record holder as the oldest person to complete a double-crossing of the English Channel. David became the marathon swim director of the St. Vincent's Medical Center Swim Across the Sound, which has raised over two million dollars for cancer.

The family will receive friends on Sunday, April 29, 2007 from 2-7 p.m. at the Swan Funeral Home, 825 Boston Post Rd., Madison, CT 06443. Family and friends are invited to attend a funeral mass at St. Margaret's Catholic Church, 24 Academy St., Madison on Monday, April 30, 2007 at 10:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to St. Vincent's Medical Center, 2800 Main Street, Bridgeport CT 06606 with checks payable to: Swim Across the Sound. You may direct your donations to either cancer or MS in memory of Mr. David Parcells. Please visit for more information. Published in the Connecticut Post on 4/26/2007. Go here for his Guest Book.

He was posthumously honored by the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in the class of 2012. See also English Channel story by Dennis Dressel.


Dave Parcells 1958-2007

David Parcells was an accomplished athlete.  After completing the 1989 Hawaii Ironman and sustaining multiple knee surgeries, he focused his athletic skills on open water swimming.  Dave was the first amateur to compete in the 15-mile cross Long Island Sound in 2000. Later that month he completed his first solo crossing of the English Channel. Two years later he made a successful double crossing of the channel, with a time of 21 hours, 30 minutes.

While pushing his body to the next limit, David always combined his athletic skills with a special personality to raise funds for charity. The charity closest to Dave’s heart was the St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, Conn. Through the years, David raised over $140,000 for the charity and touched just as many hearts with his infectious personality.

Dave Parcells was blessed with the skill to involve so many people he came in touch with: He brought anyone interested in open water swimming into the sport at their level and helped them strive toward their next level. David continued to the end to focus on pushing his body to the next comfort zone and was a role model to all ages.