The oldest World War II veteran from The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry has passed away.
Captain the Honourable William D. Parker, of Burlington, was 102.
Parker joined the “Rileys” in 1942 and served in France until he was wounded after D-Day.
His eldest daughter Debbie Parker MacKenzie says he father went on to become the youngest judge appointed to the Ontario Supreme Court, and oversaw some major trials including the Hamilton Harbour “dredging scandal” and Henry Morgentaler’s abortion trial.
Visitation and a memorial service will take place September 10 from 2 to 4pm at Hearthstone at the corner of Lakeshore Road and Burloak Drive.
Judge Parker was born on Kay Street in Hamilton on August 25, 1914.
After attending Central Collegiate, he began his legal training and was called to the bar in Hamilton in 1939.
Following the disastrous raid on Dieppe, where the RHLI lost 197 killed and many more wounded and taken prisoner of war, Judge Parker joined the regiment.
Quickly promoted captain, he went ashore in France across Juno Beach with the “Rileys” in July of 1944, a month after the D-Day landings.
He took part in the Battle of Verrieres Ridge, his first taste of action and one of the toughest fights the RHLI would face in the war.
A month later, he was severely wounded near Elbeuf, France and was taken to England for recovery, becoming an early recipient of the new wonder drug Penicillin.
He was returned to Canada later in 1944 for on-going treatment.
After being discharged from the army, he returned to his law practice.
He retained his RHLI connection as a member of the Regimental Senate.
In 1961, at only 46, he became the youngest person to be appointed a justice of the Supreme Court of Ontario.
In 1977 he was named associate chief justice of the High Court of Justice for Ontario (a division of the Supreme Court), and in 1985, he was appointed chief justice for the Supreme Court.
He retired from the bench at the age of 75 but then served on the Lieutenant Governor’s Review Board and the Alternate Dispute Resolution Panel.
In 1979 he presided over the Hamilton Harbour Commission dredging scandal trial, the longest in Canadian history to that point.
He also oversaw the trial of Henry Morgentaler, which challenged the legality of abortions in Ontario.
Cremation has taken place.
Visitation and a brief memorial service will take place on Saturday, September 10th from 2 to 4 p.m. at Hearthstone at the corner of Lakeshore Road and Burloak Drive.