Object of the Day

Man at a Meeting

We have discovered this photograph of this man in our vault. We can not identify who he is or where he is. Can you please help us solve this mystery?
20131007_163827We are looking to answer questions like:

What is his name? What is his job?

Where is this photograph taken? Is he at a meeting?  Is he in his office?

What is he reading? Is the news or press there?

If you have any information about this unidentified man, please share with us in the comments section!


  • William McLaughlin

    This is a photo of Canal Zone Governor Parfitt in his office at the Administration Building of the Panama Canal. It appears as a posed photo op.

    From Wikipedia: Major General Harold Robert Parfitt (U.S. Army (Ret.)) (August 6, 1921—May 21, 2006), was Governor of the Panama Canal Zone from 1975 to 1979.

    MG Parfitt was born in Coaldale, Pennsylvania, on August 6, 1921, the son of William Parfitt and Elizabeth (Patterson) Parfitt. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1943; graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1948; graduated from the Command and General Staff College in 1955; Canadian National Defense College in 1962; and from an advanced management program at Harvard in 1967. He married Patricia Rose Scully on June 4, 1955.

    Parfitt was commissioned second lieutenant of the United States Army in 1943; advanced through the ranks to major general in 1971. He served as commanding general, United States Army Engineer Center/Commandant, United States Engineer School at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, from late 1973 to March 1975.

    He was Deputy, and later District Engineer of the Engineer Division, South Atlantic, in Jacksonville, Florida, from August 1962 to May 1965. In June 1965, he became lieutenant governor of the Canal Zone and vice president of the Panama Canal Company, serving until September 1968.

    From December 1969 to August 1973, he was division engineer, U.S. Army Engineer Division, Southwest, Dallas, Texas. Parfitt was commanding officer of the 20th Engineer Brigade in Vietnam from November 1968 to November 1969.

    Parfitt was appointed as Governor of the Panama Canal Zone on April 1, 1975, and served in that position until September 30, 1979. He was the last U.S. governor of this region, as the post was abolished and replaced with the Panama Canal Commission.

    Parfett died on May 21, 2006.

  • Beverly Parfitt

    The Governor of the Canal Zone also served as President of the Panama Canal Company. I am very fortunate to be his daughter and have numerous pictures and other items that may be of interest to the museum.

    • David Maynard

      From April 1969 until that fall of that same year, I was the crewchief for ‘Castle 550’ with the 20th Engineer Brigade. This was the the General’s helicopter. I was very glad to have known the general, and spent many hours in missions in 3 and 4 corp with him.

    • Joe Wood

      Dear Beverly,

      Our Panama Canal Museum Collection at the University of Florida would be honored to have the items and pictures you have of your dad as we continue our mission to preserve the history of the United States in Panama. He was one of the most loved and respected Governors the Canal Zone ever had and his strong effort to protect the interests of the hard working employees of the Panama Canal and their dependents during the period leading up to the Treaty was a major factor in keeping the workforce stable in the midst of incredible turmoil. Please contact me if you wish to donate those items to the collection. Best regards, Joe Wood

  • Robert Dixon Gordon

    My note, to you fine folks, may be somewhat late, but, I feel that it should be shared. It was my pleasure as a former general service branch, employee with the Panama canal company, to take a picture with governor Harold Parfitt, at an award ceremony at the former Balboa theater, back in 1979, when that branch was closed, due to the implementation of the Panama canal treaties. As he, (Governor Parfitt) gave me my award, I promised him that I would stay the course with the canal to ensure that the waterway would remain open to those ships from all nations. Shortly after, I decided to join the ranks of the Canal Protection division in 1984. Once There, I was trained by members of the former canal zone police units, that was transferred to said division from the closing out of the police division, in 1982. In 1988 I was promoted to a sector supervisor, under the leadership of the newly appointed Panama Canal Commission administrator Denis P. Mc Cauliff, in charge of the waterway until 1989. During this period, the canal faced dark times due to the dictatorship from the Panamanian military regime, a situation that had to be corrected by the use of us military force to regain peace, democracy and stability to the region, employing “OPERATION JUST CAUSE”, December 20th 1989. During this period and time I clearly remembered my promise made to Governor Parfitt and did my best, did my share, to assist the us military, in order to resolve and restore, the current operation of the canal. For my efforts, I was awarded with the “SPECIAL ACT AWARD” during operation just cause. I retired from the Panama canal commission, a us federal government agency in 1999, and stayed on with the newly Canal authority, until the year 2012, with a total of 42 years of service. I am currently living the Panama, and my heart hurts, whenever I remember that the canal is gone. A pain that will follow me for the rest of my life.Thanks for taking time to read my note. Robert Dixon, security officer, (Sector supervisor) “Range master” 1994, Panama canal company, panama canal commission, and finally the panama canal Authority. May my former boss, mister Parfitt, find eternal peace.

  • Robert Raymond Dixon Gordon

    This is the version copied in the spanish language pertaining to the “Escuela SECUNDARIA DE PARAISO zona del canal. “PARAISO HIGH SCHOOL, CANAL ZONE DIPLUMA” La escuela secundaria de Paraiso certifica que ROBERT DIXON a cunplido con un programa de estudios prescritos por el gobierno de la zona del canal y tiene derecho a este DIPLUMA. Dado en Paraiso zona del canal, a los qcho dias del mes de febrero, del año novecientos sesenta y siete. Authorized by governor Emerson., director of civil affairs.

  • robert Dixom.

    The individual in the picture above is governor Harold Parfitt,the last canal zone governor (1975-1979) He was relieved by Mr, Denis McCauliif, the first administrator for the newly Panama canal Commission. (1979-1989). He had departed the istmus during the Noriega crisis.

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