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About Fred Parks

Fred Parks
Class of 1937
July 9, 1906 – October 18, 2001

Once so poor that he was forced to sleep on the streets of Houston, Fred Parks was the quintessential self-made man. Born in 1906 in Oklahoma City, Indian Territory – over a year before Oklahoma achieved statehood – he worked an array of jobs before graduating from South Texas College of Law in 1937.

After serving as an Army Air Force officer in Italy during World War II, Mr. Parks forged a fifty-year career as a trial lawyer, representing a diverse clientele that ranged from oil field workers to the elite of Houston society. He served as legal counsel in several well-known cases, including an inheritance dispute concerning the Moody family of Galveston, the murder case of River Oaks socialite Joan Robinson Hill (which was detailed in the best-selling book Blood and Money), and a divorce suit in which he represented actress Hedy Lamarr against her Houston millionaire husband. Mr. Parks also won a landmark case against Roy Huffington involving Indonesian oil rights. In the mid-1980’s, Mr. Parks retired from legal practice. Turning to business at the age of eighty-one, he purchased Aerobus, a Swiss-designed elevated transit system, and sold the first Aerobus system to Chongqing, China, in 2000. That same year, he began construction of the Fred Parks Air Cargo/Distribution Center, a thirty-three-acre industrial park near Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

Mr. Parks was a noted philanthropist who made substantial donations to South Texas College of Law, as well as to Rice University. His gift to the South Texas College of Law Library Capital Campaign helped build the library named in his honor. Mr. Parks provided the largest single donation ever given by an individual to the college.

For his noteworthy achievements, Mr. Parks was named South Texas Distinguished Alumnus of the Year for 1999. To the sadness of the South Texas community, Mr. Parks died on October 18, 2001, at the age of ninety-five – just a few weeks short of the dedication of The Fred Parks Law Library on November 14, 2001. Former President George H. W. Bush, a personal friend of Mr. Parks’, provided the dedication address and assisted Mr. Parks’ granddaughter Ann Parks Stallings with the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

 

 

 

 

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