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school in the town of Rock, Rock County, Wisconsin, from December, 1859, to March, 1860-the so-called "winter term." That fall he taught in the first ward school in Janesville, and he held this position for two years, or until June, 1862. From this subordinate position, in September, 1862, he went to the headship of the schools at Delavan, Wisconsin, and taught there four years, or until June, 1866. The fall of the same year found him at the head of the schools at Monroe, Wisconsin, but only until February, 1867. Then in December, 1867, he became the superintendent of schools at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and remained in this position until December, 1869, when he resigned to become superintendent of the Janesville schools the following January, remaining in this field for five years, or until April, 1875.
It was in September of the same year that he became president of the newly created State Normal School at River Falls, Wisconsin, and here for fourteen consecutive years he trained thousands of teachers. In September, 1889, he was appointed by State Superintendent Thayer as the high school inspector of Wisconsin, remaining in this work until July, 1891. In the fall of this year Mr. Parker assumed the headship of the State School for Blind at Janesville, but owing to failing health remained in the work only a few months.
From February, 1892, to August, 1894, he was a state normal school regent, and acted as secretary to the state normal board of regents. In September, 1894, he was again called to the presidency of his old normal school at River Falls, and remained in this position until June, 1898, completing eighteen years of service in this one institution.
On January 1, 1899, he was appointed by L. D. Harvey, just elected state superintendent of public instruction of Wisconsin, as the state free high school inspector. This position he held until July, 1901, when he became the state inspector of schools for the deaf, retiring from this work with his chief, Superintendent Harvey, January 5, 1903.
Mr. Parker's energies were not devoted alone to the schoolroom. He was interested in all civic projects which looked to the betterment of the community in which he lived. His broadness of view also brought him in touch with the general welfare activities of society which pertained to the state and nation. Of course, his principal influence was felt directly in educational matters.
He was a prominent worker in the teachers' institutes of Wisconsin, while in the Wisconsin State Teachers' Association he held all the offices, including those of secretary and treasurer, and was president during the session of 1870 held at Watertown. He was secretary of this organization from 1867 to 1886, nineteen years. In appreciation of his service to the association he was presented with a handsome marble clock and a goldheaded cane by the members of that organization. Mr. Parker was also railway secretary of the National Education Association, with which organization he was intimately connected during all his educational career. He served in this capacity at the meeting held in Wisconsin in 1884 and in Chicago, Illinois, in 1887. At the conclusion of the latter meeting the officers of the National Associaiton presented him with a Howard watch in appreciation of the great service he had rendered them. He was a life member of the National Education Association—a gift from the River Falls Normal School faculty and students.
During the great world's fair at St. Louis, in 1904, Mr. Parker was in charge of the Wisconsin educational exhibit, which he had previously prepared and arranged in the educational building. In this capacity he brought home to thousands of visitors from all over the world the wonderful work that the Badger State was doing in educating its boys and girls.
In his last days of retirement at Pasadena, he was no less active in contributing to the welfare of the people than he was in his active work of life. Although constantly re
quested to assume official positions, he declined them all. He was interested in every movement for the betterment of the schools and the intellectual and moral growth of the children of the community. We note that at the dedication of Washington Park in Pasadena on April 30, 1921, among trees planted on the occasion was one in honor of Warren Downes Parker. He shared this honor with John Muir, John Burroughs, and local men who had contributed to the welfare and pleasure of the citizens of Pasadena.
When one speaks of the character of an individual, it must necessarily involve the entire life of the subject. The writer, although bearing the same name, is no relation to Warren Downes Parker, the subject of this sketch. He first met Mr. Parker in the fall of 1890, when the latter, as inspector of the free high schools of the state of Wisconsin, visited him at Fox Lake, where he was then principal of the high school. From that time on the writer had various contacts with Mr. Parker, especially in educational matters, and in January, 1899, there began a close fellowship with him as a colaborer in the State Department of Public Instruction of the state of Wisconsin, which terminated January 5, 1903, with the retirement of our chief, State Superintendent Harvey.
The writer knew Warren Downes Parker intimately. After the lapse of these many years there is still impressed upon his mind the genuine manhood of this great educator and leader of young men and women. It was the earnestness of Warren D. Parker that commanded the respect of all who came in contact with him. He was a man of the deepest sincerity, and every project that he undertook was carried to completion with an energy and perseverance that are seldom found in the ranks of educators. He scorned sham, decried evil, was frank and sincere in all his dealings with his fellowmen. He always shot straight from the shoulder in all his activities of life, and expected in return the same
straightforward, honest, upright dealings from others. These were the characteristics which have made his name one to be remembered by all those who came in contact with him in the educational world. At times his constructive criticisms may have been considered unjust, but as time rolled on we who had the good fortune to come under his guidance appreciated more and more their true worth.
Professionally Warren Downes Parker was a remarkable man. The teaching of boys and girls, the instruction of young men and women for the teaching profession, and the directing of educational affairs in the high offices which he held, have stamped him as one of Wisconsin's greatest men in the educational field. As a student he stood high in the scholastic ranks. No time was wasted in his academic preparation for the teaching profession. As a teacher he was a logical and forceful instructor. The young and old who had the good fortune to come under his teaching appreciated his thoroughness and realized that when he gave them a mark in their work, that mark was fully earned.
As Mr. Parker advanced in the teaching profession from that of an instructor of youth to the higher and larger work of preparing teachers, his great value to society became more apparent. In the instruction of teachers he conducted many institutes of short duration during the summer in both urban and rural communities. Then came his work in the River Falls State Normal School, devoted exclusively to the preparation of teachers. It was during his eighteen years in this institution that the greatest work of his life was done. The alumni of this institution are now scattered not only throughout Wisconsin, but over the United States, and many are in foreign countries. All of them realize and appreciate the great help this great man gave them in those days when they were preparing for life's work.
In his capacity as an inspector Mr. Parker's earnestness, zeal, and love of the truth inspired those who came under his
supervision. His criticisms were always constructive. We all know that like other professions the teaching profession is not without its deadbeats, and these are the only ones who in the entire life of Mr. Parker could be counted as his enemies; and this, of course, brings us to say most truthfully that "we love him for the enemies he made." Keen of intellect, experienced in the ways of the world, and knowing the teaching problem from its foundation to its highest accomplishments, Mr. Parker, though tolerant and kindly in his advice, dealt definitely and decisively with all camouflagers.
Warren Downes Parker loved the profession of teaching dearly, and nothing of an outside nature was ever allowed to interfere with his growth in educational work. We find that in his early days he became a member of the Masonic Lodge, completing the Knights Templar degree. On his return to Madison in 1902 he withdrew from the Masonic lodges and took no further interest in this work. His religious belief may be summed up in the creed of the Universalist church. Though not a religious enthusiast, no man ever lived a more moral life than Warren Downes Parker, and his standards of conduct were of the highest.
Attesting these strong traits of character here indicated, and in proof of the lasting results of Mr. Parker's life work, was the honor paid him and his good wife on the occasion of their golden wedding anniversary, August 26, 1919. Unknown to either, the former students of Mr. Parker and the faculty of the River Falls Normal School united in the celebration of this day by a substantial gold contribution which was presented to the couple at a surprise function given in their honor in one of the beautiful estates of Pasadena. More than four hundred congratulatory messages were received on this eventful day from all parts of the United States-all of which formed a well deserved tribute to the good deeds of these good people.