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William James Parker ’37

Published in Oct. 23, 1996, issue

Jim Parker, who left college during freshman year, but who remained a loyal alumnus of Princeton ("It is the Place."), died Aug. 4, 1996. He had studied for a short time at Hamilton College before transfering to Princeton. He left Lucia, his wife of 55 years, son Geoffrey, daughter Elizabeth, and three grandchildren.

Jim started off with "strictly gas station type work" with Socony-Vacuum, now Mobil, transferring to a bulk plant in Boston, where he loaded and unloaded tankers, tank cars, and trucks. Faced with an alternative of 20 years in Saudi Arabia, he shifted to General Motors in the insurance division, and later joined Sylvania Electric Products. There his job evolved into one in which he was in charge of the administration of industrial relations for the company, which had 35 plants and 28,00 employees. He was also manager of labor relations at the headquarters in NYC, when it was taken over by General Telephone.

In 1959 Jim started Parke Associates in Boston, specializing in personal and human resources and in every aspect of executive search, compensation, supervisory training, and performance appraisals. He retired in 1987. By 1990 he and Lucia had their own cottage at a retirement colony, Brookhaven, in Lexington, Mass., where unfortunately he developed Alzheimer's. He also had inoperable cancer of the prostate, which finally was the cause of death.

The Class of 1937

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