William James Lewis Parker, or 'Lew' as he was known to family and friends, grew up in Halifax and survived the Great Halifax Explosion of 1917. His family later moved to Arlington, Massachusetts, and in 1927 Lew was given his first Brownie camera, which he used to photograph vessels along the Boston and New York waterfronts.
Lew finished high school and obtained a degree from the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth in 1938. He then attended Columbia University and completed a master's degree in history with the thesis "The Great Coal Schooners of New England," which was published later on in 1948.
Lew joined the United States Coast Guard in 1941 and was on active duty the day after Pearl Harbour. He served on the attack transport ship Hunter Liggett in the South Pacific, and the Gen. J. C. Breckinridge, a P2 class transport in North Atlantic. After WWII, Lew was stationed on the USCG North Atlantic weather patrol vessels Dexter and Owasco and then was stationed at New York for three years. He then had a distinguished career in marine inspection, stationed in Houston, Texas; Yokohama, Japan; and Boston, Massachusetts.
[Lavinia Lewis (6), Catherine Duffy (5), John Duffy (4), Katherine (3), John (2), Heinrich (1)]