Lauris Sanford Parker

Posted: Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Juneau resident Lauris "Larry" Sanford Parker, 84, died June 27, 2003, in Bellevue, Wash.

He was born in St. Johnsbury, Vt., on Aug. 5, 1918. He graduated from St. Johnsbury Academy and joined the U.S. Army in 1941 to pursue an interest in photography. The U.S. Army sent him to Adak to set up a radio communication outpost for the base there.

Friends and family said he was "a civic leader, Alaska pioneer and full-time vocal advocate for Juneau." His service in the Army resulted in two life-long passions: communications and Alaska. He spent several years in Adak.

He was an officer-in-charge aboard the U.S.S. Lenoir and maintained phone cables in southeast Alaska.

Larry received his discharge in 1945 and returned to the Lower 48 long enough to bring his family up to Juneau. For the next 55 years, he "lived and breathed Juneau." He and his wife, Kay, moved to a retirement home in Seattle in 2001.

His family said, "Juneau today largely reflects Larry's love of the city." He named the Golden North Salmon Derby, was an advocate for the police and fire departments, served as Juneau's mayor from 1959-67, got a new jet-age runway built for the airport and worked to get the Snettisham power project built.

His career included stints with the Governor's Criminal Justice Commission and the Alaska Department of Health. He also served in the Alaska National Guard, where he attained the rank of lieutenant colonel.

He was most proud of the Fourth of July fireworks display. Knowing nothing about "shooting a show," he joined the fireworks crew in 1947 and soon gained full responsibility for organizing, funding, planning and shooting the fireworks.

Larry is survived by his wife of 60 years, Katharine "Kay"; daughters, Wendy, Laurie and Peggy and their husbands; five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A memorial service is pending for late July.

The family requests that donations be made to St. Johnsbury Academy, P.O. Box 9061000 Main St., St. Johnsbury, VT 05819-0906 or the Juneau Salvation Army, P. O. Box 020110, Juneau, AK 99802. Both organizations were close to his heart.

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