White City is preparing for the 12th annual Memorial Day Parade, Monday, May 30. Participants will line up on Ave. C, by the Rogue Family Center and Sheriff’s Department at 1 p.m.
This year’s theme is “Our Heroes.” The Grand Marshal is Retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Robert O. Phariss, Sr.
Phariss served in the U.S. Army as a Machine Gunner 1st Sergeant (10 years) and in the U.S. Air Force where he earned the rank of Chief Master Sergeant, the highest enlisted rank, as Pavement Maintenance Superintendent (17 ½ years) . After serving for 27 ½ years, he had a forced medical retirement.
Military time for Phariss spanned World War II, Korean and Vietnam Wars. During that time he received 12 medals, one badge, an expert markmanship ribbon and a Bronze Star.
The Bronze Star was given for heroism in New Guinea during World War II. As a squad leader and machine-gunner, he was instrumental in keeping a perimeter from being overrun by the enemy in stiff fighting on Mar. 1, 1944. He was one of only four survivors of his 11 man squad.
Phariss bought his White City home on Ajax Avenue in 1959, but it was another 10 years before he and his family actually resided in it. It was one of the old Camp White officers housing.
In 1962, Phariss joined the Masonic Lodge and is a 33 degree Mason. Over the years he has held a number of positions including Past Master Central Point Lodge, Past Master District Deputy of the Grand Lodge of Oregon, and Past Potentate Hillah Shrine, and a half dozen other positions.
Phariss married Retta Faye Leedy in Reno on Oct. 13, 1952. They spent 57 years together and share three sons who also live in White City. Phariss has two daughters and a son from a previous marriage. He has 13 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.
For information on the parade and Memorial Day activities in White City, call Mickey Schauffler at 541-830-6304 or 541-261-9978 or Debbie Kenton at 541-826-6010. The parade is sponsored by the White City Charitable Foundation.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent