Paralee Watkins Compton transitioned from earth to glory on Saturday, June 13, 2020. Born on May 9, 1931, to the late Harry Watkins, Sr. and Madeline Watkins, she was blessed to live a vibrant and purpose-filled life for 89 years.
Paralee was a good student who attended the Canton City School District and graduated with honors from Timken Vocational High School in 1949. She continued her educational pursuits by earning a B.S. degree in education, an M.S. degree in education administration, and a superintendent certificate.
Mrs. Paralee Compton was an educational and community trailblazer. She was a career educator in the Canton City School District for over forty years rising from the position of school secretary to become the first African-American Assistant Superintendent. Other “firsts” include being the first black cashier at the downtown Kresge store and Fisher Foods. Later, she became the first African-American secretary for the Canton City School District where she also served in a variety of positions including: school community worker, teacher at Roosevelt School, principal at Martin School, Dir. of Human Relations, Dir. of Elementary Education, and Dir. of Staff Development. After retiring in 1993, she returned to CCSD to head the GEAR UP college readiness program.
Paralee was committed to her community and was the recipient of many awards. Among the most notable are induction into the Stark County NAACP Hall of Fame, YWCA Women’s Hall of Fame, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission Governor’s Humanitarian of Ohio Award, Martha Holden Jennings Foundation Outstanding Teacher Award, Kent State Univ. President’s Social Responsibility Award, and the Timken Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award.
She was a faithful member of Faith United Christian Church where she served as an Elder and Elder-Emeritus. She also served on many community boards and task forces to help improve conditions for people of all backgrounds. Her civic group involvement included founder of the Mary Church Terrell Club, member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., member of Leila Green Alliance of Black School Educators, and Life Member of the NAACP.
Family was of utmost importance to Paralee. She married her true love, Daniel Mordecai Compton, to whom she was married for 57 years. Paralee was a great cook and known for her homemade rolls and peach cobbler.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Daniel M. Compton; sister, Wanda Fowler; brothers, Charlie Watkins, Harry Watkins II, Mitchell Watkins, Sr., and John Watkins, Sr. Paralee is survived by her daughters: Marian Compton, Madeline Harris, and Andrea Ramsey; brother, Joe Watkins, Sr., Dayton, OH; sister, Elizabeth (Marshall) Barnes, Columbus, OH; and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
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