“I’m a little nervous about it,” Parrish said. “I am at peace with it. I feel it’s the right time.”
She and Rink began purchasing rental cabins in 2017 in the North Georgia mountains. In 2019, they moved to Ellijay full time. While the pandemic allowed her to work from home much of the time, the commute to cover the state Legislature was a grind, she said.
Parrish has spent almost her entire life in Georgia. She grew up in DeKalb County and graduated Towers High School in Decatur. She had danced since she was 3 and wanted to try for Broadway but instead attended the University of Georgia and earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism.
After an effort to get into TV failed in New Orleans, she returned to metro Atlanta and did news at radio stations WPLO in Lawrenceville, WNGC in Athens and WDUN in Gainesville. While at WDUN in 1995, she was able to get part-time work at WSB radio, which eventually became a full-time job.
There, she met Rink, who was working at WSB-TV at the time. Their first date was on the night of the Centennial Olympic Park bombings. After seeing singer Mary Chapin Carpenter with Rink at Chastain Park, she spent the night at Grady hospital talking to victims of the bombing.
She and Rink married in 1997 and had two daughters.
Parrish covered the Legislature for 25 consecutive years, seeing it change from a Democratic majority to Republican and following every controversy, from the state flag to abortion to voting rights. She was inducted last year into the Legends of Georgia Radio.
“She is an exceptional storyteller and her attention to detail is unparalleled,,” said Mark Alewine, a former WSB radio reporter who worked with her for more than 24 years. “Sandra is simply one of the finest journalists I have ever known. And on top of that, she is an amazing human being with a heart of gold.”
Now she is dancing again.
“I specialize in tap,” Parrish said. She is in a musical “Big Fish” at the Blue Ridge Community Theater playing the wife of the lead this month. (Tickets, she noted, are available this weekend.)
She also plans to manage their three rental cabins full time.
Her retirement follows the departure of WSB’s Scott Slade earlier this year as full-time morning host after 32 years (though he still does fill-ins) and Marcy Williams after 31 years.