Chicago Parker High School “Colonels”

Front of Parker High School
A picture containing building, outdoor, snow, apartment building

Description automatically generated
courtesy of Ken Parent
1939-40 Parker student body in auditorium
courtesy of Ken Parent

The History of Chicago Parker High School

Chicago (population 2.8 million) is in northeastern Illinois in eastern Cook County. Lake Michigan, along with the Chicago and Des Plaines Rivers being the main waterways in the city. Interstates 55, 57, 90, & 94 will all lead you to the “Windy City,” as will numerous state and US highways. From what started as a small village in the early 1800’s along the banks of Lake Michigan, Chicago has grown to the nation’s third largest city and one of the most famous places in the world, as the result of an ethnically diverse community that adopted the city.

Parker High School was opened on Chicago’s South Side in 1901 in honor of Colonel Francis W. Parker, an militaryman that had an interest in education along with John W. Dewey. Both men along with William Rainey Harper were instrumental in forming University High School at the University of Chicago. Parker’s influence on education in Chicago is still known in the city today with another school named after him (F.W. Parker), a school independent from the Chicago Public School (CPS) system which was opened around the same time and remains open on the West Side.

The Parker site remained open until June 1977 when CPS closed it and reopened the following September as Robeson High School. The Robeson website does have a link to show it’s history as Parker High School:

Request – From Eric Wiser:

“I was wondering if anyone was taught Social Studies by my Grandfather, Thomas WiserMr. Wiser passed in 1974, the year I was born. I never knew him but heard he taught at Parker High School in the early 70’s after leaving the Air Force.”

If you have information on Mr. Wiser please send it to the Glory Days staff at and we will be sure to share it with Eric.


Year opened:                                1901

Year closed:                                  1977

Later became:                               Robeson High School

School colors:                               Green & White

School nickname:                         the “Colonels”

School yearbook:                         Parker Pine

School song:                                 (partial donation from a anonymous grad)

Green for the tall straight pine trees

White for the fine ideal of youth

The glorious colors of Parker

The emblem of spirit and truth

Onward, upward ever forward (?) 

Parker will be true to you


1939-40 Parker lettermen & senior letter girls
Courtesy of Ken Parent


Parker athletes were involved in basketball, swimming, tennis, football, cross-country, fencing, wrestling, baseball, and possibly other sports when its’ doors were opened. The only girls’ sports that we are aware of were basketball, bowling, and tennis, plus there could have been other sports.

The school was a member of the Cook County League and once that league broke up, it was a charter member of the Chicago Public League. Speech was also offered to those not inclined to compete athletically. If you know if the school offered other sports or other activities, please contact us at

1939-40 Parker heavyweight & lightwt. basketball
courtesy of Ken Parent


One of Parker’s more successful sports was on the hardware, winning two Public League titles and competing for a third that would have sent them to the state tournament finals. As a member of the 1973 team that played in the Public League finals, Maurice (Bo) Ellis later helped lead the 1977 Marquette team to an NCAA Tournament title.

1913-14              Public League Champions         Coach unknown

                              Beat Lane Tech 18-16 in finals

1926-27     15-4  (good record!)                             Coach Nate Wasserman

1950-51     22-5   Sweet 16 Qualifer                       Coach Edward O’Farrell

                              Public League Champions

                            Defeated Von Steuben in Public League Finals, 64-58

Lost to Sullivan in first round of state tournament, 60-46

1972-73AA 19-11 Sweet 16 Qualifier                    Coach George Pruitt

                               Public League Finalists

Lost to Hirsch 55-53 in Public League finals

(Hirsch won AA state title that year)

***Great Players

Through research by Mark Jurenga:

Jerry Black

*Played basketball at Kansas State from 1975-1978.

*Played in 57 games.

*114 career points.

*Saw time in 1977 NCAA Tournament First Round 87-80 win over Providence

Maurice “Bo” Ellis

After graduating from Parker High School Bo Ellis played for Coach Al McGuire and the Marquette “Warriors,” winning the NCAA National Championship in 1977. Bo would play for three years in the NBA for the Denver Nuggets after being drafted in the first round at #17 by the Washington “Bullets.” Bo Ellis also served as head basketball coach of Chicago State University from 1998-99 through 2002-03.


Parker was one of the top schools in the state involved on the prep tennis scene, winning several singles and doubles titles, in addition to winning two of the earliest state team titles when the IHSA began naming team champions. John Shostrom won three consecutive singles titles in the 1930’s, which tied a state record at the time. The Colonels were also crowned Public League champs the same years as they won their state titles, as well as taking the local title in 1932.

1926           Robert Booth & Charles Fletcher–2nd in doubles

1929           (?) Lemmon–3rd in singles

1931            John Shostrom–tied for 5th in singles

                   Ted Arnsbury & (?) Arnold–tied for 5th in doubles

1932           Public League Champions

                   John Shostrom–STATE CHAMPION IN SINGLES!!!  

                    (defeated Al Shuflitowski of Chicago Lane, 6-4, 3-6, 9-7)

1933           John Shostrom—STATE CHAMPION IN SINGLES!!!

                    (defeated Norman Bickel of Oak Park-River Forest, 6-3, 6-2)

                   Art Jorgensen & Charles Shostrom–STATE CHAMPIONS IN DOUBLES!!!

                    (defeated John Armour and Alfred Finley of Oak Park-River Forest, 6-4, 6-2)

1934 (May) Public League Champions

                   John Shostrom–STATE CHAMPION IN SINGLES!!! 

                    (won over Joe Ross of Oak Park-River Forest, 7-5, 6-2)

1934 (Sept.) Art Jorgensen–STATE CHAMPION IN SINGLES!! 

                     Charles Shostrom—2nd in Singles

                      (Jorgensen won 6-1, 6-2)

1938           STATE CHAMPIONS!!!          Coach Nate Wasserman

                     Public League Champions

                     John Jorgensen–STATE CHAMPION IN SINGLES!!!

                       (won over Bob Ryland of Chicago Tilden, 6-2, 6-1)

1939           STATE CHAMPIONS!!!          Coach Nate Wasserman 

                    Public League Champions 

State Final Standings

1   Chicago Parker                    13

2   Oak Park-River Forest          11

3   Winnetka New Trier             10

3   Chicago Senn                       10

3   Glen Ellyn Glenbard             10


(defeated Jim Evert of Chicago Senn in final, 9-7, 7-5. NOTE: Jim Evert is the father of womens’ tennis legend Chris Evert.)


The Colonels offered gridiron action as a member of the Public League, and locked themselves up in matchups with other schools. As a result, they won a lightweight title as well as two varsity titles, according to Robert Pruter, then won 10 other Public League division titles before the school closed. Thanks to our good friend Tom Sikorski, records from 1925 through 1976 have been added.

1916      Public League Lightweight Champs                        coach unknown

1918   record unknown                                                         Coach Wiggers

Chicago Parker HS Football Team 1918
Sent to us by Michele McNamee

Sitting in the foreground (left to right): W. McNamee, Dyckman, Cox, Holmes, Coach Wiggers (wearing street clothes), Gardner, De Rose, and Fields.

Standing in the background (left to right): Daly, Irwine, G. McNamee, Swift, Crim (wearing street clothes), McRdow, Cross, and Andrews.

Text on image appears to identify Wiggers as: Wiggers. Text also appears to identify Irwine as: Irvine.

[Members of the 1918 Parker High School football team posing in front of a building].

Chicago Daily News, Inc., photographer.



Informal full-length group portrait of members of the Parker High School football team posing in front of a building in Chicago, Illinois.

NOTES:This photonegative taken by a Chicago Daily News photographer may have been published in the newspaper.

Cite as: SDN-061650, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum.

1923                   Public League Varsity Champs               coach unknown 

1924                   Public League Varsity Champs               coach unknown

1925      7- 2       Public League Section 1 Champs           Coach Nate Wasserman

1926      3- 3                                                                       Coach Nate Wasserman

1927      1- 3- 2                                                                   Coach Nate Wasserman

1928      7- 2        Public League South Champs                Coach Nate Wasserman

1929      3- 2- 2   Public League South Champs                Coach Nate Wasserman

1930      5- 3- 1                                                                   Coach Nate Wasserman

1931      7- 2        Public League South Champs                Coach Nate Wasserman

1932      2- 6                                                                       Coach Nate Wasserman

1933      4- 3                                                                       Coach Nate Wasserman

1934      3- 4                                                                       Coach Nate Wasserman

1935      6- 1- 1   Public League South Champs                 Coach Nate Wasserman

1936      3- 3                                                                       Coach Nate Wasserman

1937      5- 1                                                                       Coach Nate Wasserman

1938      3- 5- 1                                                                   Coach Nate Wasserman

1939      2- 5- 1                                                                   Coach Nate Wasserman

1940      2- 3- 2                                                                   Coach Nate Wasserman

1941      2- 4- 2                                                                   Coach Tony Antonides

1942      0- 8                                                                       Coach Tony Antonides

1943      1- 5- 1                                                                   Coach Tony Antonides

1944      7- 1- 0                                                                   Coach Tony Antonides

1945      6- 1- 1                                                                   Coach Tony Antonides

1946      6- 2                                                                       Coach Tony Antonides

1947      5- 2-1                                                                    coach unknown

1948      0- 7                                                                       coach unknown

1949      2- 5- 1                                                                   Coach Barney Negronida

1950      4- 4                                                                       Coach Dick Frain

1951      1- 6- 1                                                                   Coach Pierce Van Auken

1952      0- 4- 2                                                                   Coach Pierce Van Auken

1953      3- 3- 1                                                                   Coach Ed Tobin

1954      5- 1                                                                       Coach Ed Tobin

1955      4- 2- 1                                                                   Coach Ed Tobin

1956      0- 6- 1                                                                   Coach Ed Tobin

1957      4- 2                                                                       Coach Ed Tobin

1958      0- 8                                                                       Coach Ed Tobin

1959      2- 5                                                                       Coach Ed Tobin

1960      2- 5- 1                                                                   Coach Ed Tobin

1961      3- 4                                                                       Coach Ed Tobin

1962      5- 3                                                                       Coach Larry Scannell

1963      1- 5- 1                                                                   Coach Charles McBride

1964      1- 5- 1                                                                   coach unknown

1965      1- 4- 2                                                                   coach unknown

1966      9- 0        Public League Blue Champs                  Coach Larry Scannell

1967      4- 3                                                                       Coach John O’Toole

1968      5- 3        Public League Blue Champs                 Coach Roy Curry

1969      1- 6                                                                       Coach Roy Curry

1970      8- 1- 1   Public League Blue/Green Champs       Coach Roy Curry

1971      3- 4                                                                       Coach Roy Curry

1972      7- 2        Public League Blue South Champs       Coach Roy Curry

1973      8- 1        Public League White South Champs     Coach Roy Curry

1974      4- 4                                                                        Coach Roy Curry

1975      2- 5                                                                        Coach Roy Curry

1976      3- 4        Last season as Parker                              Coach Roy Curry

1926 Chicago Parker football team
courtesy of Elva Martinez
1939 Parker football team (2-5-1)
Courtesy of Ken Parent


The Parker tankmen made their presence felt at the state meet a couple of times and came away with medals as a result for their hard work and efforts to represent the school.

1934  (?) Dempsey                Diving—4th place


1940  Public League South Section Champs  coach unknown

          Wins over Calumet, Bowen, Hirsch, Fenger, and Morgan Park

         State Finalist

          Morris Eppley              100 freestroke—4th place

1939-40 Parker swimming/Public League So. Champs
courtesy of Ken Parent

1948  Tied for 10th Place at State Finals


1  Winnetka New Trier                31

10  Chicago Parker                      2

10  Chicago Senn                         2

Individual Placer—(?) Laughlin                 100 breaststroke—4th place

1939-40 Cross-Country/Fencing/Wrestling
courtesy of Ken Parent


The Colonels made their hill and dale debut in the fall of 1939 with just four members, but they made up for the shortage of numbers with quality. According to the 1939-40 Pine, James McKeon was fourth overall at the City Meet, while teammates Julius Stremel and Frank Bina were eighth and ninth, respectively, George Wilkinson took fifth in the junior race for Coach Paul Spade’s team.


Parker also boasted of having a team that could handle a foil with deft hands, winning three and losing one match in the spring of 1940. Coach Spade’s team bested Morgan Park Military 10-9, Crane Tech 10-6, and Hyde Park 13-3, while falling to Lindblom. The Colonels were fifth in the city meet that year.


On the mats, Parker competed with the rest of the Public League schools, compiling a 3-4 dual record for Coach Spade in 1939-40. The Colonels lost their first three meets to Morgan Park, Bowen, and Fenger, before rolling off a win over Hirsch. They dropped a meet to Calumet, but finished the season strong by defeating Mount Carmel and Kelly. Juke Engel represented his school as he won the 110-pound class at the City Championships that year. The following season, Engel repeated as a city champion as the Colonels improved on their season record to finish at 5-1 (see team photo below).

1939-40 Parker baseball
courtesy of Ken Parent
1940-41 Parker Wrestling Team
courtesy of Roberta Bertstein, daughter of Juke Engel (far left in front row)


The school also offered American’s Pastime in the spring as early as the 1920’s and during the 1939-40 school year, but information was limited (perhaps due to having the yearbook going to press before the school year was over). The 1926 team went 5-3 under Nate (Wass) Wasserman, and alumnus Andy Holmes was the coach of the 1940 team (see team photo above to the right).


Although it was “back in the day” before a CPS superintendent ruled that girls’ sports should not be allowed, Parker did have a girls’ basketball team. Historian Robert Pruter stated in his research of early girls’ basketball that the school played a home-and-home series with Schurz High School in 1917. We are not aware that the school brought the sport back in the 1970’s prior to its’ closing.


Prior to joining the IHSA, Parker’s girls had a tennis team in the 1920’s that was successful. The Green & White won the team title in Public League play in 1924. Later on as Public League schools became IHSA members, this sport as well as other girls’ athletic activities ceased at the interscholastic level until the 1970’s.

1939-40 Parker bowlers
courtesy of Ken Parent

BOWLING – Boys & Girls

The Chicago HIgh School Parker Colonels competed in the sport of bowling as well.  Some great scores and team efforts were achieved over the years at Parker High School.


The Parker students could compete in other interscholastic activities other than sports, and the speech team sent one of its own off the state meet that placed high in the finals. In 1947, Joan Spratt brought back an fifth place finish in the oratorical declamation category.

Law & Government students/library assistants
courtesy of Ken Parent

–Carl Diehl — as a member of Dartmouth’s football team he was selected as an All-American in 1925, and was eventually elected to the Helms Football Hall of Fame.

Tom Hawkins (class of 1955) – was an two-time All-American player for Notre Dame and became a National Basketball Association pro player, and later a notable sportscaster. In his senior year, Hawkins averaged 29 points and 20 rebounds per game as Parker was ranked fifth in the state polls before bowing to Tilden. After college, he played with the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers and Cincinnati Royals during a 10-year NBA career before going into broadcasting.


“My name is Robert Jensen. My grandfather attended Parker High School from 1914 to 1918 and I have two complete yearbooks, although a little worn over the years, from 1917 & 1918. My grandfather’s name was Frank Finn. He was a star tackle on their football team, coached by a Mr. Wigger. That year they won 5 games tied 2. They lost the divisional championship game. The principal of the school in 1917 was Mr. Owen, in 1918 it was Mr. French. There is no mention of a school song that I can see. This is just a small sample of the information included in these yearbooks. My grandfather went on to become an architect married my grandmother in 1927. They had two children and 12 grandchildren. My grandfather passed away in 1974.”

From Bob Ragon (class of 1954)…

Hello my friend…Graduated in 1954…my days in Chi town was young and furious, spent time in Army, then spent time in the retail field in Mgmt (with) Robert Hall
Clothes in various cities. Then was converted to my Lord, and spent the rest
of my life serving time in the ministry and missionary field…if you want a
complete breakdown. OK…retired now in Florida…oh! lived at 69th and Emerald.

From Alfred Lay (class of 1954) …

·        There was a special school for the deaf in the building. I would frequently see the students outside. I know nothing else about it.

·        The high school was just one part of a remarkable campus that included

o   Parker Elementary School

o   Parker High School

o   Wilson Junior College

o   Chicago Teachers College (Illinois Normal?)

All were in stand-alone buildings with a common campus

Parker Cheerleaders of 1950-51
courtesy of Dorothy Thomas Wilson

From Dorothy Thomas Wharton (class of 1951):

“I recently found your website with the history of Parker High School. I attended Parker Elementary and then the high school from 1947 to 1951. The senior cheerleaders are in the back row of this picture (see above). I can identify 5 of them. Notice the dirty saddle shoes — they had to be boys’ saddle shoes (without perforations).

“We didn’t have our own stadium and football games were played at Shrewbridge Stadium and a couple of others whose names I don’t remember. No Homecoming celebrations. The Junior Prom was held in the gym, decorated by the juniors. The Senior Prom was in a hotel ball room — the South Shore Hotel or others. I have more pictures. The only school song I remember is to the tune of the Notre Dame fight song with not very nice lyrics!

“I went on to Knox College, became a secondary English teacher, have a husband, two children and five granddaughters. We’re retired in Stuart, FL.

Loyally,  Dorothy Thomas Wharton, Parker High Class of 1951.”

from Angela Jones (class of 1958):

“My name is Angela Jones (nee Stevens). I graduated in 1958. I have all four yearbooks, my school sweater, and class ring. I loved and have good memories of my high school years.”

From Dr. Andrew Calhoun:

“I really enjoyed the research work on Parker. I attended Parker Elementary in the early ’60s (see photo below). I remember seeing the high school football team practice on the part of the gravel parking lot. They had green helmets and white uniforms. (In addition,) I also attended Burnside Elementary.”

From Cheryl (Govia) Walker (dated 10/10/2021):

“Hello, my name is Cheryl Govia Walker. My sisters, Trina Govia and Patricia West Govia, attended and graduated from Parker. Trina and I were cheerleaders. Mr. Will Booner coached basketball, and William (Sax) Saxton was a star guard. Another star player was “Stick Man,” James Lewis. Can’t remember others at present. I lost my yearbooks in a flood.”


to tell more of the story and history of Parker High School. If you have items such as a photo or information about the words to the school song, names of notable coaches, players, and other alumni, then we want to hear from YOU! Please contact us either emailing us at or by clicking on this CONTACT US link. Or, send us your items to:

Illinois High School Glory Days

6439 North Neva

Chicago, IL 60631

Parker Fifth Graders from February 1966
courtesy of Dr. Andrew Calhoun (front row in bow tie)

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