In Memoriam: Leonard Parker


Parker.jpgIt is with a heavy heart that I report the passing of Leonard Parker (BArch, 1948; Architecture, Professor Emeritus). Few people have had as big an impact on the School of Architecture as Leonard. Leonard taught for several decades in the School of Architecture as well as ran a successful architectural practice in the Twin Cities, showing generations of students not only how to become skilled designers, but also how to work in ways that would help ensure their own success in the profession. Widely known for his wry sense of humor and his insightfulness about both people and buildings, Leonard will be very much missed by his colleagues, clients, and former students.

Please use the comments section below to share your memories of Leonard. Friends of Leonard have set up the Leonard Parker Fellowship in Leonard's honor to support professional degree students in architecture. The University will match all gifts to the fund, which can be made online or sent to:

University of Minnesota Foundation
C-M 3854
P.O. Box 70870
St. Paul, MN 55170-3854

Leonard's funeral is planned for 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at Temple Israel in Minneapolis, MN. We will pass along any other information as we get it.



the funeral is at 12:30

Forty-five years later, I look back on our relationship and often speculate on what would have been my path without exposure to his work ethic and to his professional and personal philosophy.

Bill Pedersen, B Arch 61

Leonard shocked us all in 1971 at the Lafayette Club during a Christmas Party when he jumped up on the table and sang at the top of his voice a song about an Irish Rose. I will miss him.
Jim Morss B Arch 1967

Leonard was an important figure in the history of Minnesota architecture and a great mentor to thousands of students and young architects.

I knew him best as a colleague (and competitor) of Spero’s. I enjoyed listening to their friendly, but intense repartee on life during and after their internships at ‘Eero’s’.

I had the pleasure to have Leonard as my thesis critique and he got me out of the "chicken scratch" mode. Pleasure to have seen him at PDI last spring. A legend.

Bill Madden BArch87

In 1981, the year the annual AIA convention was held in Minneapolis, Garth Rockcastle and I were walking in the corridor of the Hyatt. Leonard came around the corner and grabbed me by the arm when he saw me. He stared right at me (we knew each other through teaching at the U of MN) and said "why the hell are you guys starting a firm (MS&R)? We don't need anymore competition here!" From that day, Leonard was always gracious but with a fierce eye towards his competitive spirit. His focus on quality and logical thinking was renowned. I will miss both his verbal side-ways jabs and his work. I am sorry I was out of town for the funeral.

Leonard helped teach all of us what an Architect should be. I hope that future students will be as fortunate.

Leonard was one of the four professors I had in Graduate School back in 1974-1975, (MArch 1977) Walter, John, and Ralph were the other three professors that had passed on in the same order as listed.
I miss them all.

Saw-Mehone Tebedge

Mr. Parker was truely a revolutionary person in the way he taught, and worked. His business manner and ideology were very special in grooming us for professional practice.
Respectfully miss him. Peter

Leonard Parker was, a true "architect's architect", and was always challenging and intense. You could NEVER be on your heals with him, or he'd jump all over you with one of his "stingers". Byt everyone always knew that deep down, he had a heart of gold and cared so deeply about his friends, his family and his profession. As an uppity little Irishman myself, he was my natural choice as my grad thesis advisor. I knew he would tell it to me straight up. Had i stayed to practice in Mpls i most certainly would have work for him and enjoyed every minute of the adrenaline rush that would have been a common occurrence i'm sure! My hats off to a life very well lived and to a man who i will always remember fondly~