Clair C. Parker (1918/03/14)
"Our first gold star boy" was the title given Clair Parker by his classmates in their 1919 Santa Cruz High School Trident yearbook.
Clair Cecil Parker was born in South Dakota about 1896 to Louis and Katie Parker and moved to Santa Cruz with his family about 1902. Clair and his brothers, Earl and Waldo, lived with their mother in the family home on Bellevue Avenue in Santa Cruz. Clair attended local grammar schools and was a member of the Santa Cruz High School Class of 1915. After his school years, the San Vicente Lumber mill employed him as a machinist.
Parker's military service began with his draft registration in June 1917. His draft records describe him as being of medium height with brown hair and blue eyes. Following his entry into the army on December 12, 1917, he volunteered for the Aviation Corps and was sent to Camp MacArthur in Waco, Texas, for training.
Soon after Private Parker arrived at the camp, he developed a case of pleuro-pneumonia requiring hospitalization. During his nine weeks of hospitalization an operation was attempted in order to improve his condition but was unsuccessful. The army then made plans for his return to Santa Cruz for a month's medical furlough; however, his condition worsened before that could occur. On March 14, 1918, a nurse shared with him that his end was near and Parker merely replied, "It is all right," and he passed without fear.
On March 22, 1918, family, friends, city officials and Civil War veterans from the Grand Army of the Republic were on hand to pay their respects to Clair at the First Methodist Church where he had been baptized. Clair Cecil Parker was buried in Santa Cruz Memorial Park (IOOF) cemetery.
(CAG; USCR, 1910 US, CA, Santa Cruz Cnty; SCSn March 16, 1918 4:4; SCSf March 21, 1918 8:5, March 23, 1918 3:4; SCEN May 10, 1924)