Bob Parzych Passes Away

Long-time jazz host Bob Parzych passed away suddenly on July 19. He was 64.

Everything, including the kitchen sink: Jazz coordinator Bob Parzych hosted The Kitchen Sink of Jazz for 47 years.

Everything, including the kitchen sink: Jazz coordinator Bob Parzych hosted The Kitchen Sink of Jazz for 47 years.

A stalwart at WRTC, Parzych’s The Kitchen Sink of Jazz was one of the longest-running jazz shows in the state and a staple for countless listeners who knew where to turn the dial during drive time on Monday afternoons heading into evening.

An alum of Trinity, Parzych began broadcasting at WRTC in the mid-1970s. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and government in 1976 and was awarded a master’s degree in education in 1982.

A native of New Britain, Parzych was a multi-sport athlete at New Britain High School. He attended Trinity on a football scholarship. The New Britain Herald profiled him.

Parzych was passionate about Trinity and broadcast Bantam football and ice hockey games for decades. He regularly had coaches and players on his program, which likely made The Kitchen Sink the only jazz program that incorporated sports-related interviews.

Trinity’s Athletic Department noted Parzych’s decades long commitment to supporting the Bantam’s sports programs.

“Trinity has been one of the few Div. III teams in the Northeast to continue airing its games on the radio in addition to its internet broadcasts, and the sole reason for that is Bob Parzych,” said Trinity Athletic Director Drew Galbraith. “There was nothing that he would not do to help get the word out about all the successes, on and off the playing fields and courts, of Trinity’s student-athletes. We have lost a trusted advocate for the Bantam sports program and a dear friend.”

Farm from sedentary: An avid sportsman, even in retirement Bob Parzych remained active. Here competes in 1990s-era Manchester Road Race. (Photo courtesy Cynthia Parzych)

Far from sedentary: An avid sportsman, even in retirement Bob Parzych remained active. Here competes in 1990s-era Manchester Road Race. (Photo courtesy Cynthia Parzych)

In addition to his longtime role of jazz coordinator and more recently station general manager, Parzych played a key role in coordinating the station’s annual fundraising marathon.

“I know I’ve forgotten many other things that Bob did over the years at the station for there were far too many to keep track of,” said Trinity Faculty Advisor Gary Reger. “ Most of all, and I can say this for all of the years that I have known Bob, he was a friend with an incredible sense of humor who always went the extra distance for those he interacted with be it at Trinity, or with family and friends.”

He mentored scores of students over the years and according to former station manager Molly Santora, interactions with Parzych provided lessons that could be used for a lifetime as she recounted in a tribute she penned for The Trinity Tripod.

One thing listeners enjoyed about Parzych’s weekly three-hour aural adventures was the predictability of it in that they never knew what he would have up his sleeve, but they could count on diverse segments. He would always do a set of new music; a vocal set; the “5 P.M. Special” and of course, “Chet’s Corner” where Parzych would play a part of a vintage broadcast hosted by his mentor and long-time WRTC host, Chet McPhee who passed away in 2012.

Of his program, Parzych would bluntly say with humor, “It’s the only jazz program that will play anything!”

Proof of that was the Annual On Again/Off Again Bob Parzych Xmas Show which has been described as “a veritable cornucopia of Yuletide festiveness with no shortage of tomfoolery.” Many believed Parzych would plot the yearly on-air event for months. He gleefully subjected listeners to the 46th edition of the special show last year with the jocoseness thankfully not getting too out of control as the FCC did not have to step in.laugh

WRTC was fortunate to have someone like Parzych on its staff for so many years, given his dedication to the on-going operation of the station, which included mentoring of new on-air hosts, support of student- and Trinity-related events and of course, his beloved jazz music.

While his shoes will never be filled, a number of WRTC hosts “sat in” on The Kitchen Sink of Jazz on July 23 to celebrate the memory of Parzych and his indelible mark at WRTC and the metro-Hartford airwaves. Phone lines were opened and numerous listeners shared memories of Parzych. Click here to listen to the archive while a playlist is here.

12 thoughts on “Bob Parzych Passes Away

  1. As I drove my 15 year-old son to camp today, we were both very saddened to learn of Bob’s death from the WRTC DJ. I always enjoyed Bob’s light-humored way of poking fun at everything. I always enjoyed his interviews, especially the ones he had with John Pizzarelli, who always seemed to be waiting for his kids to get home from school. Bob’s quick delivery of all the shows in the area on the Concert Collective always amazed me. And finally Bob’s banter with my friend Dr. Eric Galm on Sambafest activities always had me laughing. My family and I will surely miss this gem of a DJ on the fm dial. My deepest sympathies- Keith Hughes, West Hartford listener

  2. So very shocked and sad. I worked at wrtc doing a Tues morning Jazz show back in the late 90’s. He was a connsumate radio atfeccionado. And did he know his Jazz!! My deepest condolences to Bob’s wife Gale ,and 2 sons with deepest sympathy. The radio airwaves won’t be the same. Sincerely. Big Jim ,his wife Joanne and son Sean

  3. I was very saddened to hear of Bobby’s passing. He was a great player, a fun person and a favorite coach during my time at Trinity.

  4. I shocked to hear of Bob’s passing. I am still stunned. I am a long-time listener and recently met Bob in person as a student DJ. He will be greatly missed. My condolences to his family for their loss. Lady DI

  5. Our family had the pleasure of meeting Bob and making him part of the Flaherty Family, the moment my brother “JP” and the latin connection started at Trinity on Monday nights after the “kitchen sink”. Always a kind word, a joke, and he always made sure to play “ole danny boy” for our mom in tribute to our dad who will always be here in spirit. Bob was a one of a kind and will be truly missed by all that knew him… RIP our friend…

  6. I was Tech Director, then Station Manager when Bob started his WRTC career. Those were the days. Bob and I went on to work at Aetna after Trin, and our paths crossed on occasion – and usually during his annual Christmas show when I would be back in Hartford visiting family. Shocked to hear this, but I have no doubt that he and Chet McPhee are enjoying some back slapping humor right now…take care, old friend…

  7. I am still in shock ! Bobby and my dad loved the radio station and their dedicated listeners so much. Bobby made it a point to keep my dad’s voice alive with Chets Corner and the Christmas show. Bob has joined Chet in the here after for their new gig. God speed Bobby ! Jeff McPhee

  8. Bob and I just did a show on July 16th 4-6! I cannot believe this. He was an Awesome Dude! We joked, We Ragged each other! In the little time I spent with him, he was like no other. R.I.P. Big Guy and Funkiness Forever.

  9. Let it be known that Mr Parzych was of fleet and invaluable assistance all these several years that I have had the pleasure to have reached out to him for interdepartmental assistance. So many people here at Trinity are already talking about how much they miss him. Rest in peace, kind Sir, REST IN PEACE!

  10. Thank you WRTC for such a touching tribute (here on your website and on the radio this evening) to my brother, Bobby. You think you have stories..you should talk to me!
    Many thanks for the life of the Man Who Refused to Leave Trinity.
    Cindy Parzych-Turner
    Trinity Class of ’73

  11. My condolences goes out to the family I work with Bob in the past at WRTC for many years it’s sad to hear such sad news Rest in peace Bob

  12. My cell phone rang 4 years ago and the person on the other end said: “This is Bob Parzych, do you know who I am?’
    That led to four years of us announcing together Trinity College men’s Football & Hockey games on WRTC-FM. Bob was, always, prepared, passionate and his humor made our games great to broadcast. NO ONE was a bigger Bantams booster than Bob Parzych!
    When we were setting up the equipment for games, Bob would always tell me about Mikey and Nick’s cross country and basketball successes with such Fatherly pride.
    God Bless my friend in Heaven!
    Paul Femia-The Ref

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