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Parker Hubert, DDS

Parker Hubert, DDS

We’ve used the term “polymath” before when we wrote about A. J. Lamberg, a horologist. Polymath means “a person of wide-ranging knowledge or learning.”  This term might be used to refer to some of our early dentists. Ira Hinckley was not only a dentist but also a pharmacist, violinist and served as the secretary of the Masonic Temple Association. A later dentist, Dr. Jim Bliss, was not only a dentist but also a songwriter. In 1954 his song “Santa Clara Valley” was played at the May Festival with country music legend Tex Ritter sitting in.

Between Ira Hinckley and Jim Bliss, another dentist plied his trade in Fillmore, Dr. Parker Hubert.

Parker Hubert was born on December 14, 1903, in Stearns, Minnesota to Robert J. and Anna Hubert. Robert was a physician. According to the 1920 census the family was living in Downey. Parker had two older brothers, Robert and Conrad. Robert W. became a dentist and practiced in Southern California, passing away in 1973. Conrad, the oldest brother, was a physician who lived in Pasadena and died in 1949.

Parker attended Northwestern University School of Dentistry. After graduation, he set up a practice in Fillmore in 1926 and in 1927 married Bessie Garton. They soon built a home at 973 Central (later renumbered to 975 Foothill Drive). That would be their home for twenty years while raising three children, Parker Jr., Robert and Judy.

Hubert Family, 1945

Bessie found a job at the Sespe Grammar School where she was paid $1443 for 9 ½ months.  As was the custom, she resigned when she had children.

Fillmore Mothers and 2 year olds, 1934.  Bessie and Parker Jr. at far right. Immediately next to them are Hilda Haase Hurst with her son, Stanley.

At the time they built the house there were no other homes around them. Parker was an avid equestrian, riding with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Posse. Soon his sons would have ponies of their own and home movies show them riding Sally and Minnie on the hillside behind their home.

Parker on Lady, May Day Parade 1940 with sheriff's posse


Parker Hubert’s first dental office in Fillmore was at 334 ½ Central Avenue, just south of the theater. He later moved his office in the early 1940s to 448 Sespe Avenue, on the north side of Sespe between Central and Fillmore St. He was a family dentist and offered credit to his patients during the Depression. We have a letter written in 1932 from Lawrence Hinckley about an outstanding bill he had with Dr. Hubert, offering to settle the bill for a painting. Lawrence’s father, Ira, had retired from the practice of dentistry, so no more free dental care for Lawrence.

"Buck Fever" by Lawrence HInckley.

We don't believe this was the painting he used to pay off his dental bill.  Note the movie camera at Parker's feet

Besides dentistry and horses, Parker Hubert had two other interests – hunting and home movies. He got his first deer in 1928 and had the local taxidermist, Charles Law, mount the head which held pride of place in his home in San Marino.

The Museum has been given several home movies made by Dr. Hubert. Some are the expected family home movies of vacations and children’s birthday parties. Others are of community events such as the 1931 and 1936 May Festivals, the 1932 snow fall and the 1938 flood. Perhaps the most spectacular movie is of the 1937 fire which destroyed the Junior High School building. One can imagine him looking out the large, arched window down Central and seeing the smoke and flames coming from the school. Little wonder he grabbed his movie camera and captured the event.

Home Movie clips

In May 1943, Parker Hubert successfully ran for a position on the Fillmore Elementary School Board. He was not to serve long as he entered the US Navy in August 1943.  By May of 1944, he was serving as Senior Dental Officer at the Navy Hospital in San Diego.

Lt. Parker Hubert and Son c 1944

Dr, Hubert soon qualified in oral surgery. Since there was limited need for an oral surgeon in Fillmore, in 1946 the family left Fillmore for Pasadena where he opened a practice in oral surgery.

Parker practiced in Pasadena until his retirement. He passed away in 1992 and Bessie died in 1994.

Why do we know so much about Parker Hubert and his family? Although Robert, the younger son, left Fillmore when he was only twelve years old, he always considered Fillmore as his hometown. He stayed in contact with many friends, especially his kindergarten teacher, Iona Ritchie.

Robert donated several family items to the Museum, most notably the home movies already mentioned but also one of his father’s saddles and his student dental cabinet from his time as a student at Northwestern University. Our most recent intern from California State University, Channel Islands, cataloged all the items in the cabinet. He had spent several years as a dental technician, so it was a natural fit. Stop by the Museum if you want to see this unique item.

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