RichardParasol1935 - 2024

Richard passed away in 2024 at the age of 88, leaving behind a legacy that remains a testament to his sharp mind, attention to detail, and zest for life. He was a true inspiration to all, known for his adventurous spirit and love for flying.

Richard was a constant sounding board for his daughter, Ruth Parasol, and the entire Parasol International team. He was always available to brainstorm on strategy, acquisitions, and day-to-day operations, sharing his rich experience, wealth of information, and extensive network.

A Holocaust orphan and a self-made, highly successful businessman, Richard achieved remarkable success in real estate and as a venture investor in several retail and telecommunications businesses. He was a tireless entrepreneur, an avid yachtsman, and a high-flying pilot who circumvented the globe in his own small jet.

His experience as a real estate developer and property owner spanned decades, primarily in the multi-family arena. Over the past four decades, Richard sponsored, developed, operated, and financed thousands of residential units, many of which remained part of his private family portfolio.

Richard held a B.Sc. in mechanical engineering from Healds Engineering College and completed post-graduate work at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly). His legacy continues to inspire and influence those who knew him.

Richard's Story

Born in Czestochowa, Poland in 1935, Richard Parasol was an only child within the Jewish middle-class Parasol family.

His earliest years were wrought with the terror and loss surrounding the Holocaust. In 1941, at age six, his family was forced by the Nazis from their home and “relocated” to the city’s Jewish ghetto. By 1943 the ghetto’s population was diminishing as a result of famine, disease, and liquidation to death camps, and peril was imminent. Therefore, a plan was set into motion to smuggle the young Richard out and into hiding.

At age eight, Richard became a “Hidden Child,” and it would be the last time he would see his parents alive. Under the care of a Polish Catholic family, Richard hid until the war’s end in 1945. By adolescence, he had witnessed and endured enormous personal tragedy, yet he was determined to survive and move forward. Alone without family or resources, Richard began the arduous journey as an orphan-refugee that would lead him out of Poland, through continental Europe, and into Israel.

This vast trek began as a displaced orphan child who, alongside other orphan refugee children, was assisted in part by the JDC (Joint Distribution Committee) as well as other charitable organizations of the time. Life on the run seemed to come to an end in 1947 when Richard headed for Israel, first on the infamous ship Exodus which, despite months stuck on board, did not make it all the way. Later, by trekking in 1948, Richard successfully entered Israel and began his life studying and working in the kibbutz, Ein Harod. Kibbutz life helped support the young orphan in carving out a future for himself.

Richard began his military service in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) in 1953. He rose to the rank of Army Artillery Officer and saw combat during the Suez Crisis of 1956. In the years that followed, Richard, through the benevolence of a distant relative living in San Francisco, was able to travel to the US to study mechanical engineering at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly). After graduating, Richard worked as an engineer for several years, then left and used his hard-earned savings in 1964 to start buying and selling apartments in San Francisco.

By 1976, Richard was a successful real estate developer of apartments and office buildings, managing a significant portfolio of industrial and commercial projects. This career spanned five decades and several US states: California, Colorado, Nevada, and Washington State. His most significant projects included developing over twenty-five large-scale FHA (Federal Housing Administration) housing complexes. Richard’s entrepreneurial spirit carried over into other businesses both small and large, including restaurants, clubs, medical devices, and telephonics. While Richard attributed luck in part to his success, he also noted that his ability to delegate and manage played a useful role in achieving his goals. One may also point out that Richard’s ability to stay cheerful and cultivate long-term friendships and business relationships enabled goodwill and success in all aspects of his life.

Richard lived outside San Francisco and was married to his first wife from Sweden, Guna. He was the beloved father of three, adored grandfather of eight, and life-confidante to many men and women, young and old.

Richard Parasol was an avid boatman and passionate aviator, having even flown his small jet around the world. Wherever he ventured, he sought to make a difference and was a role model to both young and old. His "talk-to-the-person-next-to-you, make-a-new-friend-every-day, and never-say-never" spirit inspired many. Even at the young age of 85, his energy, kindness, and drive were both infectious and motivating.

Richard passed away at the age of 88, leaving behind a legacy that continues to inspire all who knew him.