A long-time face of the Donner-Reed Museum is being honored with his own day next week.
Next Thursday has been designated “Claude ‘Squawk’ Parkinson Day” in Grantsville. Parkinson, 84, was the host at the Donner-Reed Museum for more than a dozen years before retiring earlier this summer due to health limitations.
The Sons of Utah Pioneers took over the job in July. In addition to his time at the Donner-Reed Museum, Parkinson was on the Grantsville City Council in the 1980s and sat on the Grantsville Planning and Zoning Commission for a decade.
Marshall said Parkinson’s lengthy and dedicated service to the city should be recognized, and he and the city council felt dedicating a day to the man would be appropriate.
“I think it deserves some recognition. He’s a long-time resident, born and raised here, and has served on many committees and so I think it’s a deserving deal,” said the mayor. “He stepped down during my term as mayor, and I believe people deserve to be recognized for their accomplishments.”
Parkinson said he offered to help out after the museum’s last curator, Ruth Matthews, stepped down.
“[Then-Grantsville City Councilman Byron Anderson] said, ‘I don’t know what I’ll do.’ I said, ‘I can do it.’ He said, ‘Really?’ I said yes. I didn’t know I was volunteering,” said Parkinson. “Next thing I knew I had a job. Best job I ever had.”
Parkinson’s wife, Maralee, said her husband’s dedication to the task was unparalleled.
“He was well acquainted with the history. He was open on request, but he was always home so he could always go,” she said.
During his years at the Donner-Reed Museum, Parkinson escorted thousands of Boy Scout troops, youth groups and others through the facility, delivering historical tidbits and local ties with an infectious smile.
His daughter Krista Sparks said many of the patrons of the museum, including those from foreign countries, still keep in touch with him.
Marshall said although Claude “Squawk” Parkinson Day falls on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington D.C., that day is also Claude and Maralee Parkinson’s 59th wedding anniversary. He and the city council felt it was still an appropriate day to recognize Parkinson’s work.
“Knowing and understanding what Sept. 11 is, we still felt it was worthy to be recognized,” Marshall said.