Abbot Adrian J. Parcher, O.S.B., sixth abbot of St. Martin’s Abbey (1980-
1986), passed to God at the Abbey in the early morning hours of Thursday,
20th May 2021. He died peacefully, having received the Sacraments of the
Church and the constant care of his monastic confreres during this final
Arthur James Parcher was born in Oakland, California, in 1933, and spent more
than seventy years associated in some way with St. Martin’s, beginning with
his enrollment as a student in St. Martin’s High School. Abbot Adrian made
his first vows as a Benedictine monk in 1953, and was ordained to the
priesthood in 1959. In 1980, he was elected the sixth abbot of the monastic
In addition to academic work at Saint Martin’s College (now University),
Abbot Adrian studied at Mount Angel Seminary, Seattle University, Notre
Dame, and the University of Connecticut, Storrs, before doing some graduate
studies at Oxford, in the U.K. He had a strong interest in Edmund Spenser
and in Gerard Manley Hopkins. He served Saint Martin’s College as an
English instructor, as its Registrar, as its Vice President for Academic Affairs,
and as its Chancellor.
Within the monastic community, he served as Refectorian, Novice Master,
and finally Abbot. For a few years he was “on loan” to the American Cassinese
Congregation, and served as the Prior-administrator of Saint Mark’s Priory,
Kentucky. Abbot Adrian also was popular as a retreat master for religious
Always a voracious reader, reading widely, from the dense theological tomes
to the latest Agatha Christie, Abbot Adrian was instrumental in the
establishment of a library of books on theology and spirituality within the
monastic cloister. During his tenure as Abbot, the Abbey’s annual
concert/lecture series, Abbey Church Events, was established, and the
Abbey’s Martin of Tours Collection of PNW Art was formalized.
Following his years as abbot, Abbot Adrian exercised his priestly ministry in
the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and in the Diocese of Spokane, Washington,
serving both as chaplain and as a pastor. It was during this period of his life
that Abbot Adrian learned to drive and honed his culinary skills, often
hosting dinners for the clergy at his residence. He also was a much respected
counselor to his parishioners and others.
His appetite for both intellectual stimulation and art remained acute when
he retired to the Abbey. He enjoyed visiting the latest gallery exhibits as he
also enjoyed reading the latest works of scripture scholars, biographies of
historical figures, and an occasional re-reading of a favorite Christie or
Dorothy Sayers mystery. He had a prodigious memory, and delighted in
regaling others with stories of both the Abbey and schools and the
Benedictine world in general.
In addition to his monastic confreres, Abbot Adrian’s survivors include his
loving nieces, nephews, and many friends.
The funeral Mass and the burial of Abbot Adrian’s remains in the Abbey
Cemetery will be private. You are asked to keep a remembrance of Abbot
Adrian and his Benedictine community in your prayers.
Abbot Marion Nguyen, O.S.B
& Monastic Community