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Love, concern pours in for Mormon missionaries who lost family to CO poisoning; funeral set

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 5 2015 7:24 a.m. MDT

The Parrish family, from left: Ian, Liam, Bill, Ross, Keegan and Jensen. (Courtesy Samantha Little Photography) The Parrish family, from left: Ian, Liam, Bill, Ross, Keegan and Jensen. (Courtesy Samantha Little Photography)

POCATELLO, Idaho — A brother and sister are home after leaving their Mormon missions to prepare for a funeral Friday to honor their parents and two younger brothers, who died together Saturday night from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Sister Jensen Parrish, 22, returned home from an American Sign Language mission in Vancouver, Wash., on Tuesday. Her brother, Elder Ian Parrish, 20, arrived the same day from Fargo, N.D., where he had been serving as part of the South Dakota Rapid City Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The church's missionary department placed them on leave. Since they returned home, they have been greeting a flood of well-wishers and preparing for Friday's funeral services for their father, William "Bill" Parrish, their mother, Cathi "Ross" Parrish, and their brothers, Keegan and Liam.

The Parrish family, left to right: Bill, Ross, Liam, Keegan, Jensen, Ian. (Courtesy Samantha Little Photography) The Parrish family, left to right: Bill, Ross, Liam, Keegan, Jensen, Ian. (Courtesy Samantha Little Photography)

"They're doing well," family spokesman Craig Parrish said. "They are still in missionary mode, putting others ahead of themselves. They are wonderful kids. They are so in tune with each others' needs and everybody else's needs.

"Of course, that's what happens with LDS missionaries. They go away as kids and come back as adults. They are mature, responsible, kind and loving of others."

The community held a vigil for the Parrishes on Tuesday night at Highland High School, where Keegan Parrish, who was 15, had been a student.

Friends covered a rock in front of the school with green paint the shade of the color of his favorite basketball team, the Boston Celtics. Many of the students honored his memory by wearing that same color, KPVI.com reported.

Bill and Ross Parrish (Chris Ross) Bill and Ross Parrish (Chris Ross)

That story said the Parrish family home is also a memorial now, with flowers, balloons, notes and other messages of love and support.

Craig Parrish told the Deseret News the family has been inundated by calls, emails and other messages. One emailer offered support from his perspective as one who lost a father during an LDS mission, another is in his 20s and lost both parents last year in an accident.

"The outpouring of love and support has been almost overwhelming," Craig Parrish said. "The number of people who have come by with food, support, a hug … is simply incredible. It has been a tremendous experience for our children to see that this isn't just about our family or congregation but about our entire community."

Meanwhile, investigators have determined how the four Parrish family members died.

The extended Parrish family. (Courtesy Samantha Little Photography) The extended Parrish family. (Courtesy Samantha Little Photography)

Bannock County Coroner Kim Quick told KTVB.com that the deaths were the result of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a faulty water heater in their home.

He believes the family died between 11 p.m. and midnight on Saturday.

Craig Parrish asked that condolences and donations be made through the Colonial Funeral Home's website at www.colonial-funeralhome.com.

The website said the family is asking that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to the LDS Church's general mission fund or to the Chubbuck Lions Club, 230 Parrish Lane, Chubbuck, ID 83202.

Public viewings will be Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. at the LDS University Stake Building located on the campus of Idaho State University on Bartz Way, next to the Stephens Performing Arts Center, and again Friday morning from 10 to 11 a.m.

The extended Parrish family. (Courtesy Samantha Little Photography) The extended Parrish family. (Courtesy Samantha Little Photography)

The funeral is scheduled to begin in the same church building at noon on Friday.

Email: twalch@deseretnews.com

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company