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Parsons' funeral served up memories, big and small

He was "part Elvis, part Santa Claus and part comedian," didn't give a lick for The Beatles and was known as everybody's friend. As Friday's funeral service made clear again, Benny Parsons will be missed, writes David Newton.

Updated: January 22, 2007, 5:37 PM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

CORNELIUS, N.C. -- The scheduled speakers, recognizable names such as Ned Jarrett, Bob Jenkins and Bill Weber, had shared their favorite Benny Parsons stories when Pastor Scott Davis asked if anybody in the congregation wanted to speak.

The right hand of a small, gray-haired man rose in the right-front corner of Grace Covenant Church.

It was Odie Skeen.

Skeen, his voice so low it barely could be heard over the sophisticated sound system, began telling how in 1968 he helped ...

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