Sport: Auto Racing
Born: January 10, 1918
Died: July 13, 2008
Town: Freehold, New Jersey
Parker Bohn was born January 10, 1918 in Yonkers and grew up in Freehold. Parker was fascinated by anything related to cars and auto racing. As soon as he was old enough, he loved to drive fast cars. During the 1930s, New Jersey was a hotbed of auto racing. There was action every weekend somewhere in the state, and Parker attended as many races as he could. Any racing he did, however, was strictly for fun.
After serving in the Navy as a Seabee during World War II, Parker worked as a dockbuilder. In June of 1950, Parker and his cousin, mechanic Fred Lange, built and entered a suped-up 1937 Ford coupe at the 1/5-mile track at Long Branch Stadium. Parker held his own and within a month the 32-year-old rookie won his first race. By 1955, Parker and his cousin had 100 wins under their belts, dominating the competition at New Egypt, Wall and Old Bridge, as well as other regional tracks, including Wilmington and Islip.
In 1957 at Old Bridge, Parker leaped from his car when he saw fellow driver Pete Frazee crash in flames. Rosking his own life, he pulled Frazee from the burning wreck.
In 1961, Parker began driving for Tom Skinner. Skinner had a great car, a 1936 Chevy coupe with a GM 6-cylinder in-line engine. It was number 659 and flames shot out of its exhaust when it entered turns. It was the car to beat in the Sportsman division, and a fierce competitor against the V-8’s in the Modified division. Parker drove for Skinner until 1968, and drove the 659 car to five Sportsman titles at Wall Stadium between 1965 and 1973.
After Parker retired in 1978, he and Skinner remained partners, running the Hoosier Tire business at Wall Stadium. His son, Eddie, became a racer, as did his grandson, Danny. Another grandson, Parker III, became a Hall of Fame bowler. Parker passed away at the age of 90 in 2008.