In Memoriam

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Wilbur Lee Parker ’36

Wilbur Lee Parker '36, December 6, 2007, in Portland, after a short illness. Bill received a BA from Reed in history, and returned to the college that fall as a graduate assistant. He then earned a high school teaching credential and was a substitute teacher at Grant High School. Along with other Reedies, he did field analyst work for the State of Oregon in Salem, and was later a statistician with the Oregon Unemployment Compensation Commission. In Salem, he met Pauline E. Putnam. The couple married in 1940, and in 1942 moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where Bill was a state labor market analyst. Following Pearl Harbor, he was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve and sent to Naval Communication School at Harvard University. He assisted in fitting out the U.S.S. Yorktown, was assigned to the ship's communications department, and served there until May 1945, participating in 10 designated campaigns of the war in the Pacific. He remained active in the reserves, retiring as captain in 1964. The couple raised three daughters in Sacramento, California, where Bill was chief of the division of research and statistics for the California Department of Social Welfare. The family moved to Chevy Chase, Maryland, in 1970, where Bill served as assistant commissioner in the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. He retired from federal employment in 1977, and the couple moved to Neahkanie, Oregon. His community involvement there included work on the Tillamook Education Service District, from 1983 to 1991, as well as work for the Beaver Pond Preservation organization. In 2000, they moved to Calaroga Terrace Retirement Community in Portland. Throughout his life, Bill strove for social justice—for fair and equal treatment of men and women of all races and walks of life. He valued family and friendships and remained engaged in social and intellectual activity until his death. Survivors include three daughters, including Ann Parker Littlewood }68, who provided the details for this memorial; six grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Pauline Parker died in 2004.

Appeared in Reed magazine: May 2008

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