Steven Duane Parman, 65, died Sunday, December 31, 2017, at Stanton County Hospital in Johnson, KS. Born September 16, 1952, at Ft. Riley during the Korean War, Steve was the first of Harold Duane Parman and Dorothy Coffland Parman’s three children. He grew up in the farming community of Fairview, KS, in Brown County. Steve began high school in Hiawatha, transferring to Topeka West when the family moved to Topeka. After graduating in 1970, he studied philosophy at Emporia State University, where he met Allyson Ann Davis in a philosophy of history class. The two were married May 28, 1973, at the farm of Ann’s parents, Rudy and Meryl Davis, near Rock, KS.
After their marriage, Steve moved to Johnson, KS to join Ann who was teaching at Stanton County High School. Steve’s brother David followed Steve to Johnson, and the two formed Parman Brothers, Ltd in 1976. Although they initially engaged in residential construction, the two also designed and built fine furniture. A chance meeting at Art in the Park in Garden City sparked their interest in designing and crafting wood kaleidoscopes, and for many years, kaleidoscopes became the main focus of Parman Brothers. Their scopes were sold in gift shops throughout the United States as well as Japan, Scotland, and Mexico. In the late 1990s, after the kaleidoscope market declined, the brothers shifted to the fabrication and installation of countertops. Steve purchased the business from David in 2008 and continued to provide granite, quartz, and solid surface tops to contractors and homeowners in Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Steve’s enterprising spirit often led him to tackle unusual projects of his own devising. He grew gloxinias under lights and shopped them to area florists. With the help of David and Diego Montoya, he built a Santa Fe-style home for Ann using rammed earth technology. The project took six years and was completed in 1998. In 2006 and continuing through 2014, Chef Steve collaborated with Diane Floyd on a series of Saturday evening dinners at The Old Store in Johnson. Each three-course meal featured Chef Steve’s famous breads accompanying entrees and desserts not found on most menus in southwest Kansas.
An avid fan of jazz after several trips to the Montreal Jazz Festival with his sister Linda’s family, Steve became enamored with Joan Chamorro’s Sant Andreu Jazz Band after a serendipitous discovery of the Catalan school for young musicians on YouTube. In 2015, he and Ann traveled to Barcelona to meet and hear the musicians, and he loved sharing their experience. Steve was also a performance kite enthusiast, and with his dad, launched a stack of 15 kites on one of their ventures.
As the President of the Stanton County Area Concert Association, Steve combined his interests in food and music by hosting the performers in his home for his signature sweet potato pizza.
A storyteller, Steve liked to regale friends and relatives with vivid descriptions of his summer after high school building stave silos in Ralston, Oklahoma and Mena, Arkansas. A writer with astute analytical abilities, a wordsmith, and an appreciator of poetry, he mastered the ability to drop lyrics from his favorite songs into virtually any conversation.
Concerned his entire life about issues of social and economic justice, Steve was politically active and an unabashed Democrat.
In August 2016, Steve was diagnosed with brain cancer. Despite the challenges of both the disease and its treatment, Steve found unexpected joy in his encounters with the people of the medical community.
Steve is survived by his wife Ann of Johnson, KS; his parents, Harold and Dorothy Parman of Topeka, KS; his brother David Parman, sister-in-law Nancy Witte, and niece Carli of Charlottesville, VA; his sister Linda Parman, brother-in-law Grant Miller, and nephew Luke Miller of Temple, TX; his aunt Mary Winsor and uncle Jim Tomlonson of Warrensburg, MO; his uncle Bob Coffland and wife Patti of Iola, KS, sister-in-law Elvira Davis of El Dorado, KS; and niece Tolli Cook of Rock, KS.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, January 8 at Garnand Funeral Home Chapel in Johnson City. Memorial contributions may be given to the Stanton County Hospital, the Stanton County Area Concert Association, or the Stanton County Scholarship Foundation in care of Garnand Funeral Home, P.O. Box 715, Johnson City, KS 67855.