William Parry


William Bruce Parry (“Will”), longtime Chilmark resident, died in his home on March 14, 2024, after an extended illness. 

Will was born on March 12, 1947, in Forty Fort, Pa., a small town along the Susquehanna River. His parents, Ida Pickett and Thomas Leighton Parry, owned a dairy for milk processing. Will and his siblings, Tom Parry and Jane Rice, all graduated from Penn State University. Will wrestled from kindergarten through university, and remained an ardent Nittany Lions fan all his life.

Will graduated with a degree in mathematics in 1969, right into the Vietnam era. He joined the Naval Air Force, eager to learn to fly. This was 1970–71, and with the war slowing down, the Naval Air Force didn’t need as many pilots. Those in training were offered the choice to leave; many, including Will, decided a different career might be a better fit. 

After a stint skiing in Jackson Hole, Will and a friend from the Navy, Kirk Briggs, headed to Martha’s Vineyard, as many did in the 1970s. He and Kirk decided to build a house, and so they took up carpentry. Will was particularly intrigued by the windows, and built several from scratch. Shortly after, Will’s father closed the dairy, and to Will’s disappointment, sold his machinery. But he offered the dairy building to Will for his first woodworking shop. 

Thoroughly self-taught, Will was the epitome of a lifelong learner. Early on, he worked with renowned architect Peter Bohlin on several projects. “It was he who really gave me my start,” Will remembered in an interview with Phyllis Meras for the Vineyard Gazette’s Home & Garden magazine in 2007. 

Will married Kathleen Cameron in 1981, a friend from their Vineyard days. Kathleen was teaching art, and was hesitant to leave New York City. So Trip Barnes drove to Will’s Forty Fort shop and moved his machinery to Long Island City. While in New York, Will completed work on the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, the Brill Building near Times Square, and the Leo Castelli Galleries on West Broadway. He also specialized in sound-attenuation projects for well-known musicians.

By 1986, and with two small children, Will and Kathleen determined their Sunnyside, Queens, apartment was too small. They returned to the Vineyard and moved into a house Kathleen had in Chilmark. Over the next few years, and with the help of his father and Mark Hurwitz, Will completed his shop in Chilmark. 

In her 2007 piece, Meras described Will’s shop as “pristine,” and described him as “serious about what he does.” Edward Miller, a client, was quoted: “The genius of Parry is that he can take an architect’s dream and make it happen.” Will’s reputation brought several architects to him, and over the past 35 years, Will completed the fenestration on jobs across the Northeast, and of course many spectacular Vineyard homes. In the above-mentioned interview, Peter Rose of the Department of Architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design recalled Will to be “one of the few people I know who loves to experiment and push limits. But like a scientist or an engineer, he understands when to stop … He’s inventive and thoughtful, and for me, working with Will is one of the pleasures of building a house.”

Meanwhile, Will’s son and daughter were growing up, attending island schools. During those years, Will coached Little League, was a proud captain of the Chilmark volunteer fire department, explored neighboring waters by boat, and took up running on many of the island trails. Will built a second home on 30 acres of fields in Vermont, land that reminded him of his Pennsylvania childhood. 

Will was immensely proud of his children. Caitlin, a clinical psychologist with two young children, recently described her father as “the sweetest, most humble man. He taught me to think for myself, to acknowledge good fortune, and perhaps most importantly, to parent — to give your kids love without strings, unrelenting respect, and an occasional helping hand.” Cameron, after graduating from Wesleyan and moving back to the Vineyard, began working at Parry Windows. A number of years ago, Will asked Cameron to form a partnership with him, and Parry Windows has been one since. Will always put great thought into everything he did, and passing his business on was no exception. Garry Caton, a former crab fisherman in the Aleutians, has also been an invaluable member of Parry Windows, and Will’s close friend for decades.

Those who knew Will well understood his love of learning. He was a history buff and an avid reader, generally of rather obscure nonfiction: the history of lead, the construction of pencils, bridges across America, a range of biographies. Two weeks before his death, Will told one of his closest friends, Richard Erickson, that he could borrow his book on rust but that he “wanted it back.”

Will was loved, and will be missed by many. He is survived by his wife, Kathleen Cameron; son, Cameron Parry, his wife Allison Parry, and their children, Orion and Apollo; daughter Caitlin Dolan, her husband Patrick Dolan, and their children, Parry and Conor William (Will’s namesake); sister Jane Rice; several loving nieces and nephews; a host of longtime friends; and his little dog Gwen, named after his favorite aunt. Will was a bright light even on the foggiest of days.

A memorial service and celebration of life will be held in Chilmark on Saturday, May 18, with specific arrangements announced at a later date.


  1. I had an opportunity to meet Mr. Parry a couple years ago when he was looking to expand his shop space. He was a very impressive and intelligent man in addition to being a fine craftsman of custom windows. Not often does someone make such a lasting impression from one meeting.

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