William C. Parr
Biography: William C. Parr "Bill" was born on April 22, 1924, in Wausaukee, Wisconsin. He was the son of Clarence Parr and Eliza Nyswonger and graduated from Pembine high school. He then worked on the family farm.
Service Time: We have only a minimum of information regarding Bill's service time but we do know that after his induction, he was sent for basic training and was later assigned to a tank destroyer unit, training within the U.S. and then shipping overseas. It was during his training that he qualified as an Expert with the Rifle and Machine Gun
Bill's unit shipped out from the San Francisco port and spent some time in Hawaii. We don't know how long he was there but he related a story to his family of how the pineapple fields had guards posted to protect the crop. We are not sure if Hawaii had been just a stop-over or if they had some training there as well in preparation for what was to come.
Bill was a tall man, which gained him the nickname "Tree" while in the Army. His height was certainly an asset and gained him immediate respect with the other men. He recalled being asked to help with a discipline issue or two, figuring his stature would help bring a quick resolution to the problem.
The unit continued on to their destination, which was the Philippines. Toward the end of his time stationed there, the talk was about the possibility of the unit being involved in the invasion of Japan. After the bombing of the cities in Japan and their surrender, the unit received orders to ship back to the U.S. Bill left the service at the rank of Technician 5th Grade, being awarded the American Theater Service Medal, Asiatic Pacific Theater Medal, Philippine Liberation Medal and the Good Conduct Medal
Bill returned to Pembine and worked as a Deputy Sheriff for some period. Throughout the rest of his life he would fondly remember his time in that position. He later worked at the Kimberly Clark papermill, which would become the Pent Air papermill. He worked for the company for over 40 years and functioned as a screen tender, monitoring the wood pulp as it passed through screens to be pressed into paper. His job assured a quality product and minimized waste. Before his retirement, he worked in the factory's control room.
On May 24, 1958, he had married the former Margaret Ruth Smolander, who was born in Goodman, WI, and was the daughter of William Smolander and Margaret Ruth Dixon. The couple would make their home in Pembine and have two sons and a daughter.
Bill was very active in the American Legion, where he served for over 50 years, holding positions as Post-Commander and Sergeant-at-Arms for numerous years. He also served on the board of the Presbyterian Church they attended. In his spare time, Bill enjoyed reading and dowsing for water, which involved using a forked stick to locate underground water.
Bill passed away on November 15, 2005, and was buried in the Pembine Cemetery in Pembine, Wisconsin. At the time of his death, he and Margaret had been married for 47 years. I want to thank Bill's daughter, Ruth, for providing the information and photos for this tribute.