From To the Descendants of Rufus L & Ruth Parker, compiled by Rufus W. Parker:
Rufus Leonard Parker was born on January 17, 1884 in Independence, Oregon, the first of three children born to Frederick and Lilly Marcia (Judson) Parker. His sister Margaret was born on October 1, 1887, and a brother, Ralph, was born on March 9, 1890.
His childhood was spent in and around Salem and Marion County, Oregon. Apparently the family moved around the area as his father was a minister serving several churches in Oregon. His mother died in Hubbard on August 1, 1899 when Rufus was 15 years old.
According to some report cards he attended schools in Salem, receiving excellent grades but left high school in order to go to work. The family continued to move to towns in Eastern Oregon as his father served various churches in Oregon and Washington. About 1901 or 1902 his father left the ministry and went into the banking business in Cunningham, Washington. Settlers were moving in and opening up the rich wheat growing area of Eastern Washington. Apparently the banking business proved attractive as in 1903, at the age of 19, Rufus opened a private bank in a thriving small town of Paha. Apparently he taught himself bookeeping and ran a fairly successful bank for many years.
Paha was located on the railroad about half way between Ritzville and Lind. By 1905 the population had grown to over 600 with a large flouring mill, general store, lumber yard, two saloons and several other businesses. The town has completely disappeared and today there is nothing left but a grain elevator and farm house.
Rufus made many trips to Spokane on business. In Spokane he met Ruth Haines and they were married on February 7, 1906. They returned to Paha and lived there for several years. Here a daughter Ruth was born on November 8, 1909. About this time the flour mill closed down and thereafter Paha declined rapidly. Business went north to Ritzville or south to Lind.
The Parker family moved to Cashmere then to Leavenworth where Rufus found work in a bank. Apparently this was not satisfactory as the family again moved this time to Tacoma, now with two additional children, Jay Jerome and Rufus. After several different occupations and several residences finally the family settled in the fmily home at 818 North Adams. It was here that Virginia, David, and Jean were born.
Rufus L. Parker tried several fields of employment within the next few years. During World War I he worked at Camp Lewis in various offices. The a short time in a hay grain and feed business, following by a year spent in the logging business near Lacy, and finally with two partners started a sawmill in Kapowsin. This went fairly well until in 1827 the mill went up in flames. After closing the mill he was again unemployed. In 1928 he went to Portland and worked for his brother Ralph in the auto finance business. Returning to Tacoma with two businessmen he started an automobile finance business in South Tacoma called Standard Finance Company. About 1930 he left that firm and opened his own finance company the R.L.Parker Company as well as the Highway Used Car Market in South Tacoma. His success in this business enabled him to provide college educations for all five children and a grandson, Alan.
While in business in South Tacoma he became very active in affairs and activities in South Tacoma. He served for over 25 years as Treasurer of the South Tacoma Kiwanis Club.
In 1939 he purchased a bankrupt flour mill, the Dennett Milling Company, and with his two sons opened a feed store at 98th and Pacific Avenue caled Avenue Feed Store. Both of these enterprises became successful and provided employment for sons Rufus and David.
In 1952 the flour mill was sold and he continued in the finance business for the next 15 years. He became an avid golfer and played at Brookdale Golf Course almost every week, and at Palm Desert in California every January and February. In 1966 at the age of 82, he was very proud to announce that he had hit his age at Brookdale.
During the following years he helped his son Rufus in his trucking business and took care of his ailing wife. He passed away on March 30, 1972.