Nate Parrish – La Jolla Volleyball Champ, Model, and First Streaker

Some of the people pictured are, Patty Brewer Macpherson (Roman lady), Pat Shea (ballerina) Brunette on far right is Little John Sylvada’s girlfriend, Jack (Roman Solder). Jack always had the photo of Pat Shea framed …and there was this infamous quote to his wife Pinky, “Bring my real clothes. I know some guy is going to pick a fight with me and I don’t want to go to jail in a tutu.”

Jack MacPherson said,  Nate Parrish was the GREATEST volleyball player from San Diego and his stories are legendary as this slide show of a Halloween party at his Mission Hills home in mid 1960. It was just another Meda Party where a ton of beer was consumed.

According to the “older” Media crowd,  Nate was the funniest guy they ever met and like Rakestraw, one of the craziest.

When he graduated from La Jolla High in 1954, he was asked to stay away from graduation, but Nate came anyway and shocked the crowd when he bicycled around the track naked as a jaybird.

He was La Jolla’s first official streaker.

Nate best friend was Earl Gildea. John Pirie was another close friend as was Chester Goss.  Nate was a stud, all the girls had sparks in their eyes for him,  and after his streaking stunt, he become  a model for one of the men’s shops in La Jolla early 1960s.

According to Jack, after Nate won the Corona Del Mar Volley Ball Open he became an agoraphobic and never left his house. His wife was banking executive and supported him.

Like Rakestraw, who used to blow people away with is physical destructiveness actions, Nate used to do the same, but more in psychological division.  He had a ‘flower’ shape on his face that he branded himself.

He also had a thing for the movie Psych, he used to dress up like Norman Bates’ mother and then play the Psycho theme song and chase kids around his Mission Hills home with a butcher knife. Obviously, one would get slammed in jail and under major psychological study if that happened today, or just shot with a zillion rounds.

Many claimed he was not playing with a full deck, he was a definite flasher.   At one of his parties, he sat in a bathtub of green dye all day and all he wore to the party was a matching pair of swim fins.

Nate died Oct. 28, 1999, the date of Jack’s kid’s birthday. His story has never been told by the volleyball press. He definitely is long overdue for the contributions he brought to beach volleyball for providing that ‘Let’s party’ attitude at the courts.

Photos by Larry Osborn and text for post provided by Jami


  1. John Cinnamond, "The Baptist" says:

    Nate was my room mate for a period of time, at South Mission, during the early sixties. Funny, innovative, great artist. Great impersonations, especially James Cagney, Ed Sullivan. I lost contact after leaving the beach in 1969. I remember all of his great paintings in the Mission Hill’s home where he and Ruth lived.I also remember him as an outstanding volleyball player, And had the pleasure to play with him and against him at South Mission, and I was probably one of the country’s worst V.B. players, but my long-time partner, Ollie Phipps and I loved the competition, especially competing against Nate and Jack on occasion, and being soundly defeated. Thanks for the Memories! John C.

  2. Jack Henn says:

    Nate was a classic. I spent some serious time on the volleyball courts in South Mission with him. A great player, a funny, funny man, I consider myself a true friend of his. He’s missed for those times my wife and I and he and Ruth spent together.

  3. Dan Dameron says:

    One can drive a car from Tourmaline St. to Mission Beach in the shore break almost any day….That same person would need Moses and the Army Corps of Engineers to help if they tried to drive a car from Marine St. to Mission Beach in the shore break. Dan

  4. For my friend Nate Parrish…

    1.You knew you had spent an evening with Nate because the next day, your stomach hurt from nonstop laughing.

    2. If the Macmeda/Windansea movie is ever made, gameshow host Chuck Woolery would play Nate…or a younger version of CW. Tres handsome!

    3. Nate was a good artist…especially on detail. If you are lucky enough to own any of his artwork, hang onto it…someday The Surf Gallery in Laguna Beach will be doing a Nate Parrish retrospective.

    4. He was devoted to his lovely wife, Ruth. Ditto for his girlfriend Deborah. The death of his younger sister, Chrissie (La Jolla Hi 1966) hit him hard. And his mom…he would put her on the back of his motorcycle and run errands.

    5. He wore a Star of David in honor of his Santa Monica volleyball friends – especially the legendary Gene Selznick.

    6. The book ‘Volleyball Centennial’ by Byron Shewman devotes 3 full pages to Nate’s antics – both on the court and off.

    7. He was so funny, that when he was in 7th grade at La Jolla High (in the 40s-50s, the school was grades 7-12), the seniors would come get him, with the missive “Make us laugh,”.

    8. Native La Jollans can be identified by having a few NP anecdotes.

    9. I saw him in action only twice. I knew him from 1984-1999. 1. A few weeks after meeting Jack in June 1984, he invited me to a birthday dinner at the La Ranchero, for Don Roncie. “Nate had just broken out,” were Jack’s only words. He was pretty quiet during most of the dinner…and then he decided to stir it up…he started blowing his nose on the tablecloth…he started at low volume/obnoxious quality…and then escalated to major snort capacity…the entire restaurant was first starring at this guy…and then the whole place was laughing.

    The second was January 1991, at Jack’s Postal retirement party…Nate arrived as a character he entitled ‘The Ultimate Nazi’…it was pretty amusing and you had to be there. He was also the only beach guy that wore a Star of David and a cape made of a Nazi flag.

    10. There are so many Nate Parrish stories, you could do a full website. My favorite involved a tombstone borrowed from a Tijuana graveyard. One night during a Mission Beach party that got out of hand, the tombstone was thrown through a wall. Being conscienscious beach guys, they patched the hole up with Betty Crocker cake mix and passed out. When they awoke in the morning, the hole was totally black…upon close examination, it was covered with ants.

    Other stories:

    A.Driving a car in the shore break from Marine Street to Mission Beach.

    B. Party after the Corona Del Mar Open, where a piano was pushed out of a second story window, crushing a Porsche parked down below.

    C. Dinking a volleyball off his head during game point of big deal games.

    D. Faking his own death…actually jumping off Ingraham Street Bridge…suit and tie/wingtips and all…in front of some poor girl.

    E. Doing naked handstands in Park La Jolla (across the street from the West End) to entertain Bus #30.

    F. Directing traffic on Pacific Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, in the buff.

    G. Engaging in vocal exchanges when he saw Monsignor Clarken, at one of La Jolla’s Catholic churches.

    H. Lifting the lunches of a group of nuns, picnicing at the Cove. And eating the lunch.

    I. Being a complete original. A wonderful American original…they broke the mold after his birthday.

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