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Memorial Tributes: Volume 7
ALFRED L. PARME
BY ANTON TEDESKO
ALFRED L. PARME, a distinguished structural engineer consultant, died in La Jolla, California, on June 28, 1992. He was born in Nice, France, on April 5, 1909. His mother, Fedora Glasse, a native of New York City, was the daughter of a skilled chef. With her father she made numerous trips to France where she met Louis Parme, a young Italian wigmaker-hairdresser, whom she married. Louis went to New York to establish a business, while Fedora remained in Nice where Alfred was born. He came to New York with his mother before World War I and became a U.S. citizen at the age of eight.
Alfred attended a Catholic boarding school while his father trained him in haircutting and styling design. His family ran a hairdressing establishment and young Alfred, as expected by his parents, became a ladies' hairdresser. He was in his early twenties when he decided to quit and pursue an engineering education. This decision caused a break with his father.
Al Parme had outstanding mathematical ability. During the summers he was in demand as a navigator on racing boats for the Long Island Sound and Bermuda races because of his ability to visualize all the complexities of the vectors of wind and tide.
With little money of his own and no high school diploma, he studied for and passed a college entrance exam at Cornell University, where he was admitted to the school of engineering.