Dr. Wm. Harold Parham, Sr. died on Friday, October 12th, 2012. He was 88.
He was born at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, on June 5th, 1924, the son of the late James R. and Elizabeth Rhodes Parham, third generation Southerners. He graduated from Robert E. Lee Senior High, attended the University of Florida, and received his Bachelor degree from John B. Stetson University in 1949, and received its Distinguished Alumni Award in 1984.
The University of Florida, in 1974, with the concurrence of the Governor and Board of Regents, conferred upon him its first and only Doctor of Health Administration Degree with the University of Miami, and the University of South Florida participating, the only time all three medical school Deans participated in a convocation, and the only time the University of Florida had held a convocation off campus.
He was also a graduate of The Parachute School at Ft. Benning, Georgia (1943), and the Armed Forces Information College, Ft. Slocum, New York (1951).
He served in Combat with the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division during World War II in the European Theater of Operations; in Combat, and also as the Medical Historian for the Eighth U.S. Army in Korea during the war; followed by duty as Aide de Camp to the Chief Surgeon, General Staff, Far East Command, and United Nations Far East, in Japan.
Harold served as an Executive Vice President and C.E.O. of the Florida Medical Association, Inc. for thirty five years. At the height of his career, he became recognized nationally as an authority in the areas of medical economics, legislation, and professional liability. He helped enact the first statewide program of state and county matching Funds for Indigent Hospitalization in 1955; in the formation of the first, and possibly only, medical society in a combat zone, the 38th Parallel Medical Society in Korea; in the establishment of the first front-line Neurosurgical Unit in a MASH hospital and epidemic hemorrhagic fever center in South Korea.
In the early fifties, he had the privilege of being the first full time lobbyist in Washington for the FMA, Inc., and in Tallahassee for the FMA, Inc., Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Inc., and the Florida Hospital Association; using COMAH, Inc. as the legal and fiscal entity of those activities to keep it legal.
He served on two Florida Governor’s Advisory Committees, Governor Collins (D) and Governor Kirk (R), and also for U.S. Senator Paula Hawkins (R).
He organized and served for ten years as the attorney-in-fact and Founding President of the Florida Physicians Insurance Reciprocal, Founding Chairman of the Professional Insurance Management Company (PIMCO), and founding Trustee and Agent for twenty-five years of the Florida Medical Insurance Trust, the FMA Investment Trust.
He was the author or co-author of many published articles and commentaries, served as Managing Editor of the Journal of the FMA, Inc. and was the recipient of numerous resolutions and commendations for achievements. One of his favorite presented to him in 1989, on the occasion of 100 years of Public Health in Florida, by Wilson T. Sowder, M.D., MPH, the State Health Officer, in 1945, and served under nine Governors. “To Dr. Harold Parham, whose friendship and support helped all of us in Public Health to do our job. He contributed mightily in this and many other ways to the improvement for Health in Florida.”
Following his retirement in 1984, he and several associated were active with investments in small businesses and real estate in Florida and South Georgia. He was a powerboat enthusiast most of his adult life.
At the time of his death, he was a member of the Ortega Methodist Church, Florida Yacht Club, Jacksonville Commodores League, and the Rolls Royce Owners Club of America. He was a former member of the Boy Scouts of America, Ye Mystic Revelers, and the Hibernian Marching Society.
He served as a member of the Republican U.S. Senatorial Trust in Washington D.C., and was appointed by President Reagan to the Regional Advisory Council to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Harold was an associate member of The American Medical Association, (Emeritus); member of the American Association of Medical Executives, and served as its President in 1969.
In 1985, he was made an honorary member of the Board of Past Presidents of the Florida Medical Association, Inc. and by order of the Secretary of the U.S. Army, he was designated a Distinguished Member of the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, for service in Europe, during WWII.
He is survived by his loving wife, Mary Copeland, of 62 years, their daughter Mary Virginia and her husband, Lane Burnett; one grandson, William H. Parham III and five granddaughters, Victoria, BrieAnna, and Caitlin Burnett; Christine and Anne Parham; a brother Thomas M. Parham and a daughter-in-law, Cheryl Parham; and his son Will and his two brothers, James R. Jr. and Charles L., proceeded him in death.
“Harold worked and played hard, sometimes to excess at both.”
He spent a great deal of effort supporting tort and judicial reform and opposing excessive government and taxes at all levels.
He requested no eulogies, flowers or memorials, but requests that friends join his family for a celebration of his life and a toast to his memory.