FEATURES

CLAUDE EDSON PARMELEE 1892-1952
Freeland E. "Fred," Nathaniel Blanchard, John Orcutt, Hezekiah, Simeon, Hezekiah, Joel, John, John


Claude's love of hunting and fishing as a child -- above on the right with brother Gale -- developed his remarkable ability as a marksman.

One day while out back of a hardware store where he was working a Winchester Repeating Arms Co. salesman spotted him firing a semi-automatic .22-caliber at small wooden blocks his friends were tossing into the air as high as they could.

"Parm," as he was known, never missed. He was offered an exhibition shooter's contract with the company. That began his close 30-year association with the company which would last through World War II.

In 1921, he won the Michigan Professional Grand Trapshooting Championship, a feat he repeated in 1922 and '23. After that he began traveling with the Winchester Shooting Team. It's also noteworthy that his wife, Ruth (Browning), was the Upper Peninsula's women's trapshooting champ in '23.

Parm opened the Nightingale, a dance hall-restaurant-sportsmen's facility at Badwater Lake, north of Iron Mountain, Mich., in 1925. It was known as the finest ballroom north of Chicago and attracted many of the Big Bands of the era. It was also the site of a 1930 family reunion. He managed the complex until the main complex was destroyed by fire in 1940.

During World War II, Parm toured military bases throughout the nation, providing small-arms combat-firing demonstrations to more than 3 million servicemen.

After the war he traveled widely, appearing at gatherings of sportsmen where he showed movies of his hunting trips, demonstrated his techniques of marksmanship and promoting firearms safety.

His family moved to Royal Oak, Mich., in 1948, where he opened Parm's, a sporting goods store, on Woodward Avenue. His first book, "How to Be a Crack Shot With Rifle and Shotgun," was published in 1950. His articles appeared in Gun Digest, Field & Stream and Outdoor Life.

Parm was killed when a gas main exploded beneath his sporting goods store in 1952.

Photos No.: 10-0348, 10-0348a, 10-0348c