Vern Parker was born in May, 1889, to James Madison Parker, wagonmaster and blacksmith, and Anna Bills, in Hanford, California. He and his twin sister were the last of seven children. Little is known of his early years. He became best-known as a painter and woodcarver in the 40s and 50s when he carved gates and signs for the wealthy ranchers and landowners in Santa Ynez, California. His carvings remain on display at the Santa Ynez Historical Museum, and a stagecoach carving can still be seen above the entrance Mattai's Tavern, former stagecoach stop, now a popular restaurant in Los Olivos, California.
He then moved to Benson, Arizona where he had a studio and gift shop with his wife and stepson for many years. The walls of the Horseshoe Cafe in Benson hold his murals and can still be seen there. It was in Benson that his exquisite horse paintings became published as postcards by Petley Studios in Phoenix. The postcards are still very popular and collectible. Parker eventually moved to Silverton, Colorado and was a colorful town figure as an artist and woodcarver, having his own studio and gift shop for over twenty-five years. For many years, he divided his time among Silverton, Benson and Tucson, but finally settled in Silverton where he died July 4, 1978. His ashes are scattered at Animas Forks, Colorado, a ghost town near the Continental Divide.
Information courtesy of Joanna Hagman, the artist's niece.