Robert J. Parins
Born
Robert James Parins

(1918-08-23)August 23, 1918
DiedMay 26, 2017(2017-05-26) (aged 98)
OccupationJudge
Known forPresident, Green Bay Packers

Robert James Parins (August 23, 1918 – May 26, 2017) was an American judge and football executive. Parins was born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin; he received a law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1942. He served as the Brown County, Wisconsin, district attorney from 1949 to 1950 and as a circuit court judge for the county from 1968 to 1982. In the early 1990s, Parins played a controversial role in a case related to Jeffrey Dahmer, an American serial killer.

As a lifelong Green Bay Packers fan and a respected member of the Green Bay community, Parins was elected to the Packers Board of Directors in 1966 and promoted to the Executive Committee in 1979. In 1982 he was elected as the first full-time president of the Packers. He would serve in that position for seven years until 1989. Parins' tenure was marked by improvements to the Packers' finances, expansion of Lambeau Field, and the creation of the Green Bay Packers Foundation. After Parins' retirement as president, he remained on the Board of Directors, serving as honorary Chairman of the Board until 1994. In recognition of his contributions, Parins was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1998. Parins died in 2017 at the age of 98.

Early life

Robert Parins was born on August 23, 1918, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He graduated from Green Bay East High School in 1936 and received a law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1942.[1] Parins was a noted lifelong fan of the Green Bay Packers, which started during his childhood. He attended games in the 1920s and even helped early Packers' players—Parins noted Jug Earp specifically—carry their equipment before games.[2]

Professional career

After his college graduation, Parins took a job as an insurance adjuster with Employer's Mutual of Wausau in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He moved back to Green Bay in 1944 and began practicing law. He served as the Brown County, Wisconsin, district attorney from 1949 to 1950. His law practice ended in 1968 when he was elected a Circuit Court judge for the 14th Judicial Circuit, which covered Brown, Door, and Kewaunee counties. While in this role, he lectured across the state to schools and judicial groups. Parins' served as a Circuit Court judge until 1982, when he retired to serve as president of the Green Bay Packers.[1] After his tenure with the Packers ended in 1989, he returned to serving as a judge in a reserve capacity.[3] He retired from his legal career in 2007.

Jeffrey Dahmer case

In 1993, Parins was selected to hear an appeal regarding the dismissal of police officers Joseph T. Gabrish and John Balcerzak. The officers were originally fired for returning Konerak Sinthasomphone to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Sinthasomphone, a 14-year-old Laotian boy, was abducted by Dahmer and had been reported missing.[4] He escaped Dahmer the next day and was found naked, drugged, and with rectal bleeding by two young black women. The women called police and four officers showed up, two being Garish and Balcerzak. The officers threatened to arrest the women if they persisted in trying to help Sinthasomphone or to provide information. The officers escorted Sinthasomphone back inside Dahmer's apartment where he convinced the officers that Sinthasomphone was his romantic partner and was drunk. Sinthasomphone became Dahmer's 13th rape and murder victim.

Parins was chosen for his experience with similar cases and due to not living in Milwaukee, where the events took place.[5] In 1994, Parins noted that the officers made mistakes, but felt their dismissals were too harsh. He ordered the officers reinstated and rewarded them around $55,000 as back pay.[6] The ruling was controversial, as the records of conversation between dispatchers, the officers, and witnesses conveyed racism and homophobia by police, which demonstrated bad judgment and contributed to the death of Sinthasomphone. Despite repeated statements to police that Sinthasomphone was underage, police did not bother to investigate any further.[7]

Green Bay Packers

In 1966, Parins was elected to the Board of Directors of Green Bay Packers, Inc., the nonprofit organization that owns the Green Bay Packers.[1][8] Parins took on a leadership role in the organization, when he was further elected to the Executive Committee as vice president in 1979.[2] In 1981, Parins assumed all of the roles and responsibilities of the presidency, but still retained his vice president title.[9] In 1982, after the death of Dominic Olejniczak, Parins was formally elected president of the Packers.[10] Parins became the first full-time president in the Packers' history and took on the additional title of Chief Executive Officer in 1988.[2] He would serve as president for seven years until retiring in 1989.[1] Parins was succeeded by Bob Harlan, who he personally endorsed for the job.[11] Parins' retirement marked an end to the tradition of electing local leaders to be president—Harlan was promoted from within and his profession was fully devoted to football.[12][13] Parins would remain on the Board of Directors until 1994, after which he was named director emeritus.[14] During this same time he held the position of honorary chairman from 1991 to 1994.[2]

Although Parins' time as president saw little on-field success, his tenure was notable for the Packers' financial improvements, reorganized management structure and expansion of team facilities.[15] While Parins was president, the Packers' record was 43–61–2 and they only made the playoffs once.[16] However, the team saw profits increase from $2 million in 1986 to $3 million in 1987.[citation needed] Some of this increase can be attributed to the 72 new private box seats added to Lambeau Field, which increased the stadium's capacity to 56,926.[citation needed] The Packers also constructed their first indoor practice facility and expanded its administrative offices.[citation needed] The net worth of the Packers also grew from $14.9 million to $25.9 million during his tenure.[citation needed] Parins' was also credited with separating the head coach and football management duties by hiring a vice president of football operations for the first time.[2] One of Parins' lasting impacts though came from the creation of the Green Bay Packers Foundation—the Packers' charitable organization—in 1986.[15] In recognition of these accomplishments, Parins was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1998.[1]

Personal life

Parins was active in the local community, a noted sports enthusiast, and outdoorsman.[17] Him and his wife Elizabeth were married in 1941; they had five children together.[18] Parins died on May 26, 2017, in Hobart, Wisconsin, at the age of 98.[19]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Christl, Cliff. "Judge Robert J. Parins". Green Bay Packers, Inc. Archived from the original on August 18, 2018. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e Christl, Cliff (May 27, 2017). "Judge Robert J. Parins set stage for Packers' success". Green Bay Packers, Inc. Archived from the original on May 28, 2017. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  3. ^ "FindLaw-Balcerkzak v. City of Milwaukee". Archived from the original on 2016-09-20. Retrieved 2019-09-11.
  4. ^ "The Estate Of Konerak Sinthasomphone v. The City of Milwaukee". United States District Court. March 5, 1992. Archived from the original on July 10, 2017. Retrieved May 28, 2017 – via University of Missouri-Kansas City.
  5. ^ "New judge to hear appeals of cops fired in Dahmer case". The Journal Times. Associated Press. May 22, 1993. Archived from the original on January 19, 2021.
  6. ^ "Victory for Two in Dahmer Case". The New York Times. Associated Press. April 28, 1994. Archived from the original on September 10, 2017. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  7. ^ Worthington, Rogers (August 2, 1991). "Could Police Have Saved Young Victim?". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on September 18, 2011. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  8. ^ "Executive Committee & Board of Directors". Green Bay Packers, Inc. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  9. ^ "Packers Shuffle Top Management". The New York Times (clipping). Associated Press. October 12, 1981. p. C-6. Archived from the original on August 18, 2018. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  10. ^ "Packers Chrnonology". Green Bay Packers, Inc. Archived from the original on January 3, 2010. Retrieved January 5, 2010.
  11. ^ McGinn, Bob (April 28, 1989). "Most signs point toward Harlan for president: Part 1". Green Bay Press-Gazette (clipping). p. C-1. Archived from the original on July 10, 2020. Retrieved January 15, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ Shultz, Bob (June 10, 1989). "Harlan is Serious About Packers: Part 1". The Capital Times. p. 15. Archived from the original on January 22, 2020. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  13. ^ Shultz, Bob (June 10, 1989). "Harlan is Serious About Packers: Part 2". The Capital Times. p. 18. Archived from the original on January 22, 2020. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  14. ^ "Judge Robert J. Parins, Packers' first full-time president, dies". PackersNews.com. May 28, 2017. Archived from the original on June 27, 2019. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  15. ^ a b Murphy, Mark (June 10, 2017). "Judge Parins brought Packers into modern era of NFL". Green Bay Packers, Inc. Archived from the original on November 11, 2020. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  16. ^ Looney, Douglas S. (August 28, 1989). "Shake-up In Title Town". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  17. ^ "The Honorable Robert J. Parins". BlaneyFuneralHome.com. Archived from the original on June 27, 2019. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  18. ^ Maillet, Jeff (May 27, 2017). "Robert Parins, former Packers president, dies at 98". Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Archived from the original on August 30, 2020.
  19. ^ Chiari, Mike (May 27, 2017). "Former Packers President Judge Robert J. Parins Dies at Age 98". BleacherReport.com. Archived from the original on May 28, 2017. Retrieved May 28, 2017.