A Beloved Coach Dies in Motorcycle Accident

The accident took place in Puyallup on the evening of Nov. 12.

Mark “Skate” Paridon, a longtime islander known to many as a dedicated lacrosse coach, died at Harborview Medical Center in the early morning hours of Friday, Nov. 13, after suffering injuries when his motorcycle was struck by a car.

The accident took place in Puyallup on the evening of Nov. 12, during Paridon’s nightly commute back to Vashon.

Details of the accident have not been confirmed with police by press time, but Jeff Cowen, who was Paridon’s friend, said the driver of the car that struck and killed Paridon was intoxicated and had been arrested at the scene.

Paridon, a lifelong lacrosse player, was known as the “Barefoot Coach” on Vashon. He got the moniker for hustling to lacrosse practice after his 60-mile round trip bicycle commute, in rain or shine, and then slipping off his boots as he raced to the field.

Paridon helped lead multiple ragtag groups of 7th and 8th graders through a number of seasons, establishing a defense known as Joe’s garage (with a nod to Zappa) which held up for several years. One of these groups was the core of the team that won the State Championship in 2019.

“Mark helped inspire this group of players, especially those new to the game, and really did a great job of teaching them and figuring out which position was best for each player,” said Greg Martin, who was also Paridon’s friend.

Another of Paridon’s passions grew out of watching the Grand Ole Opry with his mother as a kid when he developed an appreciation for country and bluegrass in the early 1960s. His love and encyclopedic knowledge of American music expanded as a senior in high school to include every branch of the Grateful Dead family tree.

Paridon is survived by his three adult children, Jericho, Clover, and Cullan. His wife, Wendy Paridon, also a well-known islander who worked for the Park District, died suddenly last year.

Clover works for the Vashon School District as a paraeducator, helping students with special needs, and Jericho is currently attending online courses through WSU. The eldest son, Cullan, recently moved to West Seattle and works as a GIS Specialist at Apple.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to support the family. Search for it at “Paridon Family Support” or visit gf.me/u/y8qqib.

“Mark was dedicated to others, loved a good, fair but tough competition, and had a wonderful sense of humor,” Martin said.

More information and an obituary is forthcoming.

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