PHS Alumni Honor Roll Member
Paul Williams Cress
Class of 1922
In his long career, Paul W. Cress was the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma, a judge, and a lawyer in private practice in Perry and for city governments. The son of Parker W. and Minnie C. (Madaris) Cress, he was born in Perry in 1904. He attended Perry public schools through the ninth grade, but then spent two years as a student of Cambridge High and Latin School in Cambridge, MA. He returned to Perry his senior year and was a 1922 graduate of Perry High School.
Mr. Cress earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Kansas University and then his law degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1929. He was admitted to the Oklahoma State Bar in 1929 and began practice in Perry with his father at the Cress, Tebbe and Cress law firm.
Paul married Marie Roberts of Tonkawa in June 1930.
In 1931, Paul Cress was elected Noble County Attorney and served two terms. From 1935-37, he was Perry City Attorney and served two terms in that capacity. He simultaneously was City Attorney for the towns of Billings and Red Rock.
Mr. Cress was active in Perry’s civic organizations, serving as President of the Lions Club, Vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce, and later as a member of the Rotary Club. He was among the founders of a unique Perry organization, the Broke and Bankrupt Order of Poor Boys; and he was a member of the program committee for the Perry Civic Orchestra.
Paul Cress was a leader in the PHS former students’ association, helped with the Kids’ Twilight Baseball League rules committee, helped organize a Men’s Twilight League, and served on the advisory Board for the Perry Boy Scouts. He was a Mason for more than sixty years and was listed in the Who’s Who and in Sons of the American Revolution.
He was Chairman of Noble County’s first War Price and Rationing Board, serving until 1942, when he volunteered for service in the United States Army Air Corps. After his discharge from the military service, he resumed his law practice with Emmett V. Rosser. Cress then became Commander of the Ellis-Jirous American Legion post.
Attorney Cress was appointed U.S. District Attorney for the Western District in 1954. He served in this capacity for seven and one-half years.
In 1961, Paul once again resumed his private law practice in Perry. He was appointed district judge in 1963 for Kay and Noble counties and served a two-year term on the bench.
Mr. Cress was elected president of the Noble County Bar Association in 1971; and in 1974, he filed for the office of Associate District Judge. He retired from the bench after his two-year term ended. Paul officially retired from practicing law in 1981, although he served temporarily as an Associate Judge from 1988 until 1990.
Paul Cress died on November 3, 1994. His sister, Marjory Gafford and a nephew, William P. Parker, reside in Oklahoma City, and another nephew, Steven E. Parker lives in Mobile, Alabama.