Photo Credit: FRIED ELLIOTT /

William W. Parks, Profiles of Star Champions

President William W. Parks (Starlights, May, 1974)

Bill Parks, the newly elected President of the Class, has been a Star sailor for more than a quarter of a century. Belonging to the Southern Lake Michigan Fleet, he races in the Chicago area, but also participates whenever he can in major events both near and far. In 1938 he skippered a Star for the first time in a junior championship, and thus began a love affair of long standing. He says, "Stars were, and still are, the most competitive class on Lake Michigan, and I wanted a chance at the best, namely Harry Nye, Woody Pirie and Bert Williams."

In 1947, in partnership with Gary Comer, he acquired his first Shrew, No. 1308, a boat already eleven years old at the time. Four years later with this same Shrew he won the Mid-States championship and the Fourth District Green Star, and was on his way up. His many honors include winning the McGarvey Memorial, the U.S. Shipping Board trophy, and Sheridan Shore Race Weekend three times, the latest being in 1971. He has a gold chevron from the 1955 World's in Portugal, has twice been runner-up in the North American Championship, and won the Olympic bronze medal in Naples in 1960.

He is a civil engineering graduate of Illinois Institute of Technology and has an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago. He is a vice president of Vapor Corporation and serves on the board of directors of the American Transit Association. He lives with his wife Pat and daughter Julie in Glenview, Illinois.

President Parks has contributed to the Star Class large quantities of his professional engineering skill. He was chairman of the Technical Committee for the first five years of its existence and has continued to be instrumental in fulfilling that committee's mission. He has been a member of the Governing Committee for ten years and was Executive Vice President last year. He became a life member of the Class in 1972.

Paul Cayard and Phil Trinter talk with Olympic medal winner Bill Parks at 2004 Olympic Trials

Besides being keenly interested in the maintenance of onedesign measurement and control, he has always been sensitive to the importance of public relations and the continuing world-wide promotion and development of the Class and the I.S.C.Y.R.A. To encourage greater participation in inter-fleet racing he established a special trophy for the highest combined point scorer in several major events of the Chicago area. No one has a more genuine interest m the ultimate welfare and prosperity of the Star Class than Bill Parks.

At this writing he is in Switzerland for the semi-annual meeting of the International Governing Committee. He has just ordered a new Shrew for the coming season's racing. We wish him every success as the skipper of his new boat and as the skipper of the organization that means so much to him and to all of us.

Bill Parks obituary Dec. 10, 2008

william w. parks