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Thomas D. Parry 1947-2001


In Memoriam

Thomas D. Parry 1947-2001

Thomas Dee Parry Jr., passed away Jan. 7, 2001 at his home in Fairfax Station, Virginia, at the age of 53.

Eldest of four children of Thomas and Bonnie Parry, he was born in Los Angeles, California in 1947. As a young man Parry excelled in sports, academics and student politics. In 1965 he entered Brigham Young University on a basketball scholarship. A year later he answered the call to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Argentina. Tom returned to BYU to complete his studies. While at the University he met his wife, Nancy Winter. They were married in the Oakland Temple in 1973. He was accepted into the charter class of the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU, where he graduated in 1976. He immediately went to work on the political campaign of underdog challenger Orrin G. Hatch in the Utah U.S. Senate race. Parry went to Washington, D.C. with Sen. Hatch and served this country for approximately eight years in various capacities, including Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Chief of Staff for Sen. Hatch.

In 1984, Parry and his long-time friend Romano Romani founded the consulting and lobbying firm now known as Parry, Romani, and DeConcini. The two men had met through their work on the Senate Judicial Committee. "He was a unique guy," Romano says. "If he said something, that was it. He was a straight-shooter and very politically astute, yet also very generous. He was always giving credit to others, even when he deserved it for his ideas, which is a unique quality in D.C."

On behalf of one of their clients, the Utah Natural Products Association, Parry was instrumental in what would come to be known as the Hatch-Harkin Bill, now known as the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). While industry and public grassroots efforts were instrumental in its ultimate passage, Parry was key in shaping the proposed legislation before it took on a life of its own. This legislation regulates the dietary supplements industry today.

Earlier, Parry and Romano had been the midwives to the legislation that permitted so-called "generic drugs" as they are known today. Formally known as the Drug Price Competition and Patent Restoration Act of 1984 (and informally known as the Hatch-Waxman Act), this law allowed pharmaceutical manufacturers to cite the safety and efficacy data of the pioneering company as they develop generic versions of drugs, saving consumers billions of dollars each year. This act also extended the life of patents to compensate for time lost to drug companies while engaged in the FDA approval process.

"Obviously, Tom had a big impact on the herbal products industry, and American healthcare as a whole when you look at his work," said another long-time friend and professional associate, Jack Martin.

His love of sports continued throughout his life as he was active in basketball, baseball, softball, tennis and fishing. More than anything else, he loved his family and was proud of his children's accomplishments in school, sports, dance and other activities. He is survived by his wife, Nancy, and their four children, Beth, Lynsey, Tommy and Matthew. -- Karen Robin, ABC