Remembering NOAA Capt. (ret.) Roger L. Parsons

A Message from the NOS Assistant Administrator

Roger Parsons

NOAA Capt. (ret.) Roger L. Parsons
November 11, 1953 - April 12, 2011


Roger Parsons epitomized the idea of a go-to guy. But you wouldn’t have heard that from him. You would have heard it from anyone who worked with him during his 36-year career supporting NOAA’s mission. He was so unassuming about his own accomplishments; few people know the breadth of his activities at NOAA.

Here are just a couple of examples of what I mean. Roger served as the commanding officer during the Ronald H. Brown’s two-year global exploration mission. The vast mission included activities ranging from deploying and servicing buoys and sea floor sensors to studying hydrothermal vents.

Roger directed NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey for three years, including oversight of the critical navigation response following Hurricane Katrina. He was back in the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, where he served as chief of staff to National Incident Commander Thad Allen. When he was named to this position, Roger was serving as NOAA’s Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping coordinator, spreading the message of “Map Once, Use Many Times.”

Besides being willing to take on any challenge that came his way, Roger had a dry wit that disarmed people. Those who worked with him understood that they were part of something bigger. He was so important to NOAA, it’s hard to imagine NOAA without him.

The coming days and weeks are going to be difficult for all of us who are grieving the loss of a valued friend.  Know that you are not alone.

My thoughts go out to Roger’s wife, Annette, and their two children, Anne and Michael.

In appreciation that I had the opportunity to know him,

David Kennedy
NOS Assistant Administrator