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Obituary for Melvin Lloyd Parris
Published in The Monterey Herald on July 15, 2012

November 1956 ~ July 2012

ARROYO GRANDE - Mel and his faithful dog, Walker, died in a car accident July 2, 2012 while driving in the hills above Santa Maria, in Santa Barbara County.

Born in Fresno, Mel was proud to be a native Californian. He grew up surfing, boating, fishing and diving along the California coast, attended the California Maritime Academy and graduated from U.C. Santa Cruz with a degree in Marine Biology.

He enjoyed a diverse and interesting career, working for Long Marine Lab, Lockheed Ocean Systems, Research Triangle Institute and Brown & Caldwell Analytical.

Mel was seriously devoted to his hobbies: he took the Scientific Diving course at U.C. Berkeley to perfect his SCUBA skills and the entire Automotive Technology program at MPC to hone his abilities as a mechanic. He read voraciously, mostly scientific texts. He burned through thousands of rolls of film, capturing beautiful images as he cruised the California countryside.

"Melvi" had an outrageous sense of humor, a fierce intellect and the most tender of hearts.

He is survived by his wife, Nina; his mother, Alice; and his cousins.

Donations in his name may be made to the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), 550 Camino El Estero, Monterey, CA 93940. Private services will be held in Cayucos and Pebble Beach.

New Opportunity for Volunteer Divers

Reef Check California is a new volunteer based dive survey that will be starting up in the near future. Craig Shuman, the Reef Check California Director, is looking for well trained divers with some scientific experience to ground truth the volunteer methodology and form the basis of the first teams in California.

The Reef Check California program will train volunteer teams of local divers, surfers, and fishermen to survey marine life on underwater rocky reefs and to develop an accurate picture of the health of California’s near-shore marine environment from Santa Barbara to Monterey. In 2005, volunteers will be trained by Reef Check scientists to monitor fish and invertebrate populations along the state’s Central Coast. In 2006, the program will expand to include Southern and Northern California. The collected data will be made available on a website and scientific analysis will be used to support better management of California’s complex reef ecosystems.

Now in it’s 9th year of operation, Reef Check Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization that maintains the world’s largest coral reef monitoring and conservation program. Reef Check’s network of scientist and volunteer divers from over 80 countries and territories submit standardized data to the USA headquarters for analysis and review. International teams work with communities, governments and businesses to scientifically monitor, restore, and maintain coral reefs globally. Reef Check has received prestigious national and international environmental awards for its work, and is the United Nations’ official community-based reef monitoring program.
More information is available at:

Or email: california@reefcheck.org
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