John Parle

It has been a while since we featured John Parle (Class of 1942) in a post, but many of you know that he is a favorite of ours.  We first told you back in May 2013 of how the selfless actions of Ensign John Parle, which saved many lives but cost him his life, earned the Congressional Medal of Honor – the first (and I think only) Creighton  graduate to be so honored.  We’ve discussed his heroism during World War II in blog posts since then – for example, here and here – but this time we would like to share a few things about his years at Creighton.

1. The theater: If the photo looks familiar to you, then you probably read recently our small offering about theater at Creighton.  The photo shows the cast of “The Masterful Monk,” one of two 1938 productions with freshman John Parle.  (When we chose the image back in October, we didn’t know that Parle was in the photograph.)

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John Parle as the butler in the Creighton production of “The Masterful Monk” in 1938

2. Faith in action: John Parle was heavily involved in the Sodality* Council, for which his fellow students selected him.   Parle also was a member of the Xavier Forum, a group which studied “the fundamentals of missions.” He was voted president of the organization his senior year. For his involvement in both groups, he was awarded the St. Francis Xavier Cross for, as the 1942 Commencement Program put it, “outstanding service in the Mission Crusade.”

3. Student: He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce in 1942.

4. His character: To get a sense of student Parle’s character, read what Father Francis Deglman, S.J., wrote in The Creightonian in January 1944.  After reading that, I think most anyone in the Creighton community would agree with Father Deglman’s statement about John Parle: “We are proud he is a Creighton man.”

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Presentation of Congressional Medal of Honor to Parle’s parents at St. John’s Church, January 1944

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* Since sodalities are not as common now as back then, Katherine kindly looked up the word so you don’t have to.  A sodality is “a confraternity or association, especially a Roman Catholic religious guild or brotherhood.”

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