MOLLY SANTORA ’18
Bob Parzych, a Trinity alumnus and long-time jazz host at WRTC-FM, passed away suddenly on July 19. He was 64.
A native of New Britain, Bob was a multi-sport athlete at New Britain High School and was awarded a football scholarship to Trinity in 1972. He started broadcasting at WRTC as an underclassman. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and government in 1976 and was awarded a master’s degree in education in 1982.
Though I had known Bob since my first year at Trinity, spending the last year and a half as station manager at WRTC solidified him as both a mentor and a friend to me. Every Monday I would stop by to meet with him during his Kitchen Sink of Jazz show.
It is believed Bob had the longest-running jazz program in Connecticut. He was in his fifth decade at WRTC as well as the general manager.
During our Monday meetings, he would have a bag of candies waiting for me or, when still in season, fresh tomatoes from his garden. Apparently Bob carried around the candy with him to many of the places he went, knowing everyone needed a little chocolate “pick-me-up.” He always made time in our meetings — in between playing a wide range of jazz, updating me on the lives of his beloved twins, Michael and Nicholas, and cracking jokes with me in the studio live on air — to ask how things were going and to reassure me that I was doing a good job with my station-related responsibilities.
Bob was a predictable person. You knew you could always count on him. He was easygoing, his low-stress personality was refreshing, but it was his sense of humor and incredible work ethic that set him apart from so many people.
Bob was a mentor in an unassuming way. Sometimes, as a young student who is suddenly in a rather large leadership position, you need encouragement. Bob was always sure to provide that in the most genuine of ways. He did this not just for me, but countless other students and community members at the station over the years. It was not uncommon for Bob to make regular calls to new hosts when they were on the air, just to check in to see how they were doing. Those simple gestures went a long way and emotionally boosted many people over the years.
His actions best represented how caring and compassion can be limitless. He showed this in little ways; the one time he met my parents, my dad commented that he liked his WRTC hat, so Bob gave him one a week later. He also showed this in big ways. His work for the station went beyond what his job entailed, but it wasn’t about the job for him. For Bob, the longevity and success of an organization where people had the freedom to express their musical tastes and share it with others was the reward.
Bob was the epitome of a passionate and knowledgeable host, providing play by play of the bulk of the Bantams’ home football and men’s ice hockey games and a fair share of away contests over the years. It was not uncommon for him to have coaches and players from many Trinity teams into the studio during his weekly jazz program to talk about their latest endeavors.
WRTC without Bob is difficult to imagine. But his impact has made me incredibly appreciative of all that he was able to do for a community. In short, you want to be like Bob. You want to live fully and make others laugh and feel appreciated on a daily basis. We would all be better people if we came close to living our lives with the passion and thoughtfulness with which Bob Parzych lived his.
Molly Santora ’18 earned a B.S. in American Studies and Psychology from Trinity.