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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

UALR community mourns passing of retired professors

Two retired UALR professors, James “Jim” Parins, 73, and Carolyn Curry, 87, recently passed away after lengthy illnesses.

Parins, a retired professor of English and associate director of the Sequoyah National Research Center at UALR, died Sunday, Nov. 17, just two days before his 74th birthday.

Parins came to Little Rock to teach in the English department, where he taught for 40 years after earning his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin. Early in his career, he produced several concordances to the works of Joseph Conrad and Ezra Pound, a biography of William Barnes, and coauthored Structure and Meaning: An Introduction to Literature.

He worked with a research partner to publish the groundbreaking Biobibliography of Native American Writers, 1772-1924, revealing hundreds of Native American writers and journalists whose work was previously unknown.

Numerous publications involving Indian authors followed. His most recent collaboration concerned a two-volume Encyclopedia of Indian Removal. His last book, Literacy and Intellectual Life in the Cherokee Nation, 1820-1906, was recently published.

At the Sequoyah National Research Center, Parins worked with student interns on their research projects. As a member of the English department, he mentored several Cooper Honors students.

His memorial service will be held at 10 a.m., Friday, Nov. 22, at Ruebel Funeral Home, preceded by a private family burial at Mount Holly Cemetery. Donations may be made to the Sequoyah National Research Center at UALR.

Curry, who died Wednesday, Nov. 13, was a 1966 graduate of then-Little Rock University, where she served as president of the Phi Kappa Psi honor society.

She was an associate professor at UALR and taught speech and theater. Throughout the years, students gathered to sing around the piano at her home.

During the 1960s and 70s, she produced various beauty pageants affiliated with the Miss America Pageant system.

She was the first in the nation to serve as a faculty advisor for a male fraternity, Sigma Nu. In her later years, her favorite pastime was dancing at the Afterthought and swapping stories with friends.

A celebration of her life service was held Sunday, Nov. 17, at the North Little Rock Funeral Home.