Guide to the Parke M. Pontz Westminster College Treasurer's records

Table of Contents

Collection Overview

Collection Inventory+/-

Biographical Note/Historical Note

Content Description

Collection Use

Administrative Information


Collection Overview +/-

Title: Parke M. Pontz Westminster College Treasurer's records
Dates: 1922-1955 (inclusive)
Collection Number: ACC-017
Summary: The collection consists of correspondence, contracts, and other records of Parke M. Pontz, Westminster College Treasurer from 1921–1955. The majority of this collection consists of correspondence between Pontz and other individuals having business with him or Westminster College. Only a small portion of the correspondence is private (Pontz wrote a letter to his family and friends regarding a trip he and his wife took).
Repository: Westminster College, Giovale Library
1840 South 1300 East
Salt Lake City, Utah 84105
Phone: (801) 832-2250

Collection Inventory +/-

box 1, folder 1: Contracts
box 2, folder 1: Contract oversized
box 1, folder 2: Incoming correspondence (1927-1930)
box 1, folder 3-4: Incoming correspondence (1931-1941)
box 1, folder 5: Incoming correspondence (1942-1954)
box 2, folder 2: Incoming correspondence oversized (1922-1930)
box 1, folder 6: Outgoing correspondence (1922-1930)
box 1, folder 7: Outgoing correspondence (1931-1954)
box 3, folder 1: Third-party correspondence (1955)
subseries: Third-party correspondence

Restrictions on Access:

Access restricted until the year 2030. Includes student transcripts.

Biographical Note/Historical Note +/-

Parke M. Pontz (1886-1961) served as Treasurer of Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah) from 1921-1954. Pontz had an accounting background in the Salt Lake area. He served first as bursar, becoming business manager and treasurer, and member of the Board of Trustees. His life was devoted to the prosperity of the college which he served both inside and outside of his job for almost 40 years.

Pontz was December 4, born in 1887 near Strasburg in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the 4th of 5 children (including brothers W.R. Pontz and Elvin G. Pontz). As a youth he had a bakery route, then worked briefly in the steel mills of Pennsylvania. Moving to Omaha, Nebraska he became worked at the Omaha Heavy Hardware Co. for 10 years. In 1916 he moved to Boise, Idaho, where he worked in hardware and automobile businesses. He came to Salt Lake City in 1918 as a sales and advertising manager for Utah Implement and Vehicle Company.

Pontz married Jeanette Gosselink on September 1, 1910 in Pella, Iowa; their fiftieth anniversary was observed in the October 1960 edition of the Utah Westminster. She attended Central College in Pella, Iowa, and worked in Iowa as a secretary. Pontz and his wife would raise two sons, Donald and Walter. Donald would attend Westminster College (dates unknown) and graduate with a degree in chemistry. He would later move to the east and become an accomplished chemist for Dow Chemical. Walter would join the armed forces and give his life in defense of his country, fatally wounded in Tunisia in 1943.

Pontz's devotion to Westminster College and the war effort can be seen in his "victory garden." A local newspaper article (source unknown) dated August 10, 1942 details Pontz's success at gardening in a two acre "victory garden." He planted corn, tomatoes, beans, peas, cucumbers, squash, and potatoes for the purpose of feeding the college's dormitory residents (during the farm labor shortage of the time). Pontz's garden would be enlarged the following year (1943), but would fall into disrepair when it became too difficult to maintain.

As Treasurer from 1921-1954, Pontz served under Presidents Herbert W. Reherd, Robert D. Steele, and Interim President Burton C.J. Wheatlake. During his time serving under President Robert D. Steele, Pontz would propose the construction of a residence on college property, later to be deeded to Westminster. Pontz's proposal was accepted, and the Pontz Memorial Home was constructed on the southeast corner of campus, facing 1300 East.

Evidence of Pontz's personality can be found in the nickname given to him by the students—"Pay Me." Pontz seemed to be unashamed by this, and even embraced it.

Pontz and his wife were dealt a powerful blow when their son Walter died in active duty in Africa. The Pontz Memorial Staircase at the college was named in his honor, and commemorates the lives of those who have died in war. The staircase is present today, on the west side of Converse Hall (between Converse Hall and the Tanner Plaza).

Pontz resigned from his position as Treasurer in 1954 to become Assistant to the President, leaving his former job in the hands of Ralph S. Gunn. This honorary title was granted to him along with an honorary LDH degree. As Assistant to the President (1954-1961) Pontz served under Presidents J. Richard Palmer and Frank E. Duddy.

Parke M. Pontz died May 23, 1961 at age 74, having devoted the majority of his life to Westminster College. He never retired from the college. Pontz experienced a heart attack in his college office, was taken to a Salt Lake hospital, and died shortly after nine in the morning (Salt Lake Tribune, "Death"). In the words of Dr. Frank E. Duddy, Jr., "He has joined the other founders—in love, in selfless dedication, in tradition, in history. No institution was ever served more faithfully! In sadness which he would not approve, we honor his memory but inadequately. But we are proud and grateful that he lived and worked among us, and we benefit by his shining example."

Following her husband's death, Mrs. Pontz moved east to live with son Donald. The Pontz Memorial Home was left vacant after this time, and served to facilitate the needs of the college. The Memorial Home would later be demolished and replaced by the Dolores Dore Eccles Ceramic Center in the late 1990's.

Sources of Pontz biographical note:

  • Ivie, Josh. Biographical Sketch : Parke M Pontz. September 2004.
  • Etosian, 1962 (Westminster College yearbook).
  • Salt Lake Tribune obituary. "Death Claims Assistant To Westminster Chief", published May 24 1961.
  • Salt Lake Tribune article "War Victims' Rites and Funeral services...", published February 6, 1949.
  • United States Federal Census, 1940

The Treasurer of Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah) was originally an officer of the Board of Trustees. In later years the position is listed as a college administrator. The office of Treasurer has been held by:

  • 1895-1921 Henry V. Van Pelt (under earlier name Sheldon Jackson College and new name Westminster College)
  • 1921-1954 Parke M. Pontz
  • 1954-1964 Ralph S. Gunn
  • 1964-1976 Francis J. (Frank) Cox
  • 1976-1978 Gerrold K. Mukai
  • 1978-1979 Louis (Lou) Benn
  • 1979-1980 William J. (Bill) Clark
  • 1980-1981 Connie Hedenstrom
  • 1981-2008 Stephen R. (Steve) Morgan
  • 2008- Curtis Ryan

Content Description +/-

This collection consists of correspondence, contracts, and other records of Parke M. Pontz, Westminster College Treasurer (1921–1955). The majority of this collection consists of correspondence between Pontz and other individuals having business with him or Westminster College.

The correspondence documents church gifts, property ownership (deed requests, abstracts), inspections, legacies, insurance, utilities (fuel and lighting), supply orders, receipts, loans, letters to various Presbyterian boards, etc. Some complicated cases are addressed through his correspondence including that from Varian Banks (1925–26), Treasurer of the Board of Home Missions, requests for information concerning gifts given to the Presbyterian Church by Westminster College. Another significant group of incoming correspondence relate to the settlement of the estate of Westminster College's emeritus President Herbert W. Reherd (1953).

The most involved case example involves the sale of land in 1929. Varian Banks is asked to forward a deed of land to the Salt Lake City Labor Temple Association by Westminster College. The land, once owned by the First Presbyterian Church with a mortgage from the Board, had been sold by the church to the Labor Temple Association (LTA). Westminster College (Pontz) needed to clear the mortgage with the Board before the LTA could receive the deed to their property. It appears that Westminster College issued a substitute agreement to the LTA without the Board's consent (all Board members, when the original mortgage was resolved in 1911, were deceased by 1929). The current Board claimed to have no financial interest in the property, and insisted on knowing the full story before releasing the deed. The set of correspondence—both incoming and outgoing—detail this issue and its resolution.

Only a small portion of the correspondences could be considered private—Pontz wrote a letter to his family and friends regarding a trip he and his wife took.

The contracts are as follows: Keyless Lock Company, Sales Tax (tax exemptions for the college), Utah Light and Traction Company, Stokermatic Company, Rents (for the college-owned property on 1855 South 1200 East), Chytraus Heating Company (for President Steele's home), Gravely Garden Tractor and Power Equipment, and Sign Shop (posters). Two contracts contain product brochures: Keyless Lock Company and the Chytraus Heating Company (two brochures).

Collection Use +/-

Restrictions on Access:

Open to public research with the exception of the student transcripts. Those records have been removed and sealed in accordance with the provisions of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) for 75 years. These records are available to the subject of the records and authorized college personnel. The restricted transcript (Box 3) contains private information.

Access to other parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Twenty-four hours advance notice is encouraged.

Restrictions on Use:

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.

Permission to publish material must be obtained from the director of the Giovale Library.

Preferred Citation:

Parke M. Pontz Westminster College Treasurer's records, 1922-1955, ACC-017, Giovale Library Archives, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Administrative Information +/-


The collection is arranged in two series:

  • Series 1. Contracts (arranged alphabetically by company name)
  • Series 2. Correspondence (divided into the 3 subseries (incoming, outgoing, and third-party) and arranged chronologically within each subseries)

Processing Note:

Processed September 2004 by Josh Ivie. A single transcript was removed to Box 3, sealed, and access restricted.


Pontz, Parke M., 1886-1961

Westminister College (Salt Lake City, Utah : 1902-1983). Treasurer's Office


Collection materials are in English.


0.4 linear feet

Language of the Finding Aid:


Author of the Finding Aid:

Finding aid written by Josh Ivie.

EAD Creation Date:

2010 May 6 by Sarah Shaw


Describing Archives : A Content Standard (DACS)



Related Material:

Related collections and photographs in Giovale Library Archives:

Subjects +/-

Corporate Names:

Chytraus Heating Company
Gravely Garden Tractor and Power Equipment
Keyless Lock Company
Labor Temple Association
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Board of National Missions
Stokermatic Company
Utah Light and Traction Company
Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah : 1902-1983)--Finance
Westminister College (Salt Lake City, Utah : 1902-1983). Treasurer's Office--Archives

Subject Terms:

Corporate treasurers--Archives
Presbyterian universities and colleges--Utah--History--Sources

Form or Genre Terms:


Personal Names:

Pontz, Parke M., 1886-1961--Archives
Pontz, Parke M, 1886-1961.--Correspondence
Banks, Varian
Reherd, Herbert Ware, 1869-1952

Geographical Names:

Salt Lake City (Utah)--History--Sources