Bo Parris


James “Bo” Parris of the Big Cove community in Cherokee walked through Heaven’s Gates on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020.

Bo was born in Tryon, Ga., on Jan. 8, 1935. Bo was preceded in death by his wife, Gladys Parris; his father, Scott Parris and his mother Edna Hamilton Parris; and his aunt and uncle Sadd and Stella Dalton in Tryon, Ga.

Brother Parris was the pastor of Big Cove Baptist Church for 61 years. He was fluent in reading, writing and speaking the Cherokee language. Bo, along with Bros. Gil Breedlove and Raymond Johnson, completed a hymnbook containing more than 200 songs in the Cherokee language.

Bo retired from the U.S. Postal Service with more than 35 years of service. Over the years he served the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians on the law and order committee and school board. Bo was a graduate of Carson-Newman College. On May 2, 1974 he was granted “Honorary Member” of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. He also served in the U.S. Marines.

At last count Bo had preached more than 1,000 funerals. He loved the Lord, and he loved to witness to others about Christ. He only missed church on Sunday when he was in the hospital and when churches were mandated to close. He enjoyed reading every day and has a library full of Christian books. Bo firmly believed in supporting missionaries both domestic and internationally.

Bo also loved stickball. He played with Big Cove Stickball Team in his younger days. He enjoyed watching the men play.

In addition, when he was able, he visited the nursing homes and hospital every day and often acknowledged the nurses, especially those in inpatient: Jennifer, Tammy, and Dana. Every week or so he would get what he called “care packages” and take them to the inpatient nurses.

His love and dedication for Indian people is what made him happy. Regardless of the time of day or night, when he was able, he would get up and go to the hospital when called. He was the most kind, loving, forgiving, God fearing man who wanted all others to accept Christ.

Bo is survived by two daughters, Jamie Tranter of Cherokee and Joanne Parris of Phoenix, Ariz. He is also survived by six grandchildren, Steven, Susie, Tabitha, Jr, Ryan and Kayla; great-grandchildren, Alaia, Lexi, Ayla, Nevaeh, Caedance, Jayden and Anthony, Hunter and Edger and Annee, Awee and Kaiden; and one great-great-grandchild, Zavian.

Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. Saturday Sept. 26, 2020, at Big Cove Baptist Church. Revs. Raymond Johnson and Gil Breedlove officiated.

Burial was in the West Cemetery with military graveside rites conducted by the Steve Youngdeer American Legion Post 143. Pallbearers were members of the Big Cove Stickball Team.

Bo was taken to the church at 5 p.m. Friday by Crisp Funeral Home to await the hour of service.