Elizabeth "Lisa" Parsons
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Parsons, Elizabeth "Lisa"

Elizabeth "Lisa" Parsons, 57, Chicago, IL died suddenly on Wednesday, March 31 from yet unknown causes. Lisa was part of the first group of 20 women firefighters who joined the Chicago Fire Department in 1986. Lisa's career on the CFD spanned 28 years, where she held the positions of Firefighter, Lieutenant and ultimately rose to the rank of Captain. Lisa was a dedicated public servant, working in many Chicago neighborhoods before retiring in 2015. While on the CFD Lisa met her husband of 18 years, Ron Barber, with whom she shares two children, Julie and Denny. Lisa was a loving parent - always there for her children as a friend, fan, and supporter. Toward the end of her CFD career, Lisa attained a Master of Education degree from Chicago State University, which enabled her to achieve a dream to teach. She became a substitute teacher in grades k-8 for Chicago Public Schools. Lisa enjoyed subbing several days a week, often at George Washington Elementary, the school her children attended. Lisa was a lifelong activist for peace and the environment. In her younger years, she was a member of Women for Peace. She participated in anti-apartheid demonstrations and protests against militarism in Nicaragua and elsewhere. At age 19, she spent months in Nicaragua protecting newly hatched turtles and working on other environmental projects for the American Friends Service Committee. Lisa was a proud alumnae of Kenwood Academy HS ('81) where classmates knew her as Lizzie. In her senior year at Kenwood, she took first place as a swimmer in the medley relay along with three other teammates. As an adult, Lisa played Underwater Hockey alongside her sister and father. She was a member of the US Women's Underwater Hockey Team, competing in world competitions in Canada and New Zealand. In her retirement, Lisa loved being in the stands at both her daughter and son's baseball games, spending time with her extended family at their summer home in Michigan, attending live music events and playing golf with friends. Lisa cherished the many friendships she built during her life's journey. Said her father: "If I were limited to one statement about Lisa it would be that one person can indeed make a difference in the world around them." Lisa is survived by her children, Juliet and Dennis Barber, her father Wayne Parsons (Carmen), her sister Linda Parsons (Dave), niece Lillian Garcia, beloved dogs Zoey and Lucy, and a loving extended family who will miss her dearly. A memorial service will be planned.

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Published in Chicago Sun-Times on Apr. 4, 2021.
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78 entries
April 17, 2021
My condolences. Scott Habermahl informed a group of former Kenwood students of Lisa's passing, and we raised a toast to her fine spirit and inspirational life. Jon Steinhoff, Michael Link, John Horowitz, Merrill Boone, Tahir Naim all spoke of Lisa fondly. Our hearts go out to her family, especially to her husband and two children.
Samuel Day III
Classmate
April 17, 2021
I was so sad to hear the sudden passing of Lisa. Linda and family, sending a big hug. May fond memories comfort you all.
Judy (McCarthy) Brosnan
April 16, 2021
I cherish the memory of Lisa as an upbeat, friendly person. We traveled to a banquet several years ago. She drive and we enjoyed the outing.
Shirley Gluth
April 12, 2021
I’m so sorry to hear about this news. Lisa was in my online class and it was only tonight I heard about her passing from one of our classmates, everyone was deeply shocked. My condolences to her family, for the short period I knew her she was a fun person and was excited that her kitchen cupboards were being done.
Vanita
Classmate
April 12, 2021
My Deepest Condolences..!! Very Loving Wife Mother and Friend..!!
Bob Gomez
April 12, 2021
So sorry for your loss Ron& family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you
Dave&Jan Kaminski
April 12, 2021
Lisa was a warm, lively woman with a quick, Huge Smile. She was brave and adventuresome.

I remember when a group of FF'ers biked to NYC after 911. Lisa stood along the curbside, baby in arms, with her BIG smile wishing us a safe journey.

My Monarch Butterfly way-Station is now dedicated to Lisa here in S Florida.
My heart goes out to her family.
Marilyn Schriner
Marilyn Schriner
Friend
April 11, 2021
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Assel, Temirlan and Iskander
April 10, 2021
Although i didnt get to spend much time with her Julies mom when i did meet her through a school project i had with julie, she was super sweet. With baked cookies and funny stories. Telling us how she ordered food in spanish to practice but also apologized if the order was wrong because her spanish wasn't perfect. She also embarrases julie no matter how much she pleaded for her to stop. It was a great experience and im so glad i had the opportunity. Even if i wasn´t that close, theres still a lot of coming from my family to yours and i honestly still think about that project. (picture of us from the project)
Amaya Gushiniere
April 10, 2021
My first meeting with Lisa was as a lifeguard - a team player, competitor, and someone who like to have fun. We did not see each other often or work together steady, But when I did run into Lisa, she made the day better. She was righteous and bright and a strong presence. So sorry for the loss and void she left behind especially for her beautiful family and close friends. May her shinny spirit carry on.
Margaret Kane
April 10, 2021
So very sorry to hear of your Mom's passing. I remember fondly her ready smile each time she entered the school office, her joy of teaching, willingness to volunteer her time sharing her knowledge as a fire fighter with students and her devotion as a mother to you. Thoughts and prayers are with you. Brenda Corman
Brenda Corman
April 9, 2021
Deepest sympathy for her family. Lisa always had a smile on her face. Rest In Peace
Steven Spreitzer
April 9, 2021
Our deepest condolences to your family I came on with her she is awesome :(
Arthur Harris and fam
April 9, 2021
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Val, Judy, Maria, Sabrin Maril
April 8, 2021
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Karl n Paula
April 8, 2021
Lisa was a very liberal woman and a dear friend. Lisa was my captain when I was assign at ENG.97 Lisa you will be greatly missed. May God rest your soul.
TC Britton Bey
April 8, 2021
I didn't know Lisa but I'm friends with her sister Linda who herself is a wonderful young woman. Linda tells be many wonderful thing about her sister. They sound very much alike. Linda talks about her "big sister" always looking after her. She has to be a wonderful person.
Gerald Ritchie
Friend
April 8, 2021
My heart felt sympathies go out to the barber family. She will be missed.
John Hall
April 8, 2021
I'm at a lost for words ... too soon to leave this earth ... she will be missed ...
Brady Watkins
April 8, 2021
My deepest condolences to Lisa & her family ! Praying for you guys
calvin white
April 8, 2021
Sorry for your loss. Peace to your family
Mike Hall
April 7, 2021
Lisa will be missed by all she came to know. My friend will R.I.P Condolences to the family
Larreace Rollins (Ressie)
April 7, 2021
I'm so very sorry to hear about Lisa's passing. Lisa was a beautiful, kind person. As a new comer to Underwater hockey she was so kind to me and shared her knowledge and helped me feel welcome. I will miss her sweet smile and kindness. My thoughts and prayers are with her family.
Sharon Flynn Reed
April 7, 2021
Please accept my deepest condolences and sincere prayers.
CFD Retired PIC Lorraine McCauley
April 7, 2021
I´m so very sorry to hear that Lisa has passed. My condolences to the family. Lisa was such a hard worker, she was so caring and very smart. Lisa always had a smile when I saw her. She will surely be missed by many
Judy Townsend
April 7, 2021
What a loss. Deepest condolences to all the family. Hugs and prayers.
John Kulsa
April 7, 2021
So very sorry to hear that Lisa has passed, and my thoughts and prayers are with her entire family.
Sue schmidt
April 7, 2021
My deepest condolences to the Barber and Parsons families. I became friends with Lisa and Linda as a very young adult. I remember Lisa quite clearly as being an intelligent, energetic, fun loving and loyal woman. You are all in my prayers.
Wayne Braxton
April 7, 2021
Sorry to hear about Lisa leaving us. I was in her and Linda's academy class. She was always looking out for others, nature particularly. A great person from a great family.
Harold Turrentine
April 7, 2021
My deepest condolences. Eternal rest grant unto to her, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she Rest In Peace.
Gabriel Leon (Ret. CFD)
April 6, 2021
My deepest sympathy at the sudden loss of Lisa. May God cradle you and your family as you bid farewell.
Linda Lambert,retired CFD
April 6, 2021
So sorry for your loss. Met Lisa thru Linda who I worked with on CFD. Prayers for the family.
Rob Weel
April 6, 2021
Many condolences to family. May your many memories be a comfort to you. She is a seriously loved and admired woman by many. That wont change.
Lynn Foreman
April 6, 2021
My condolences go out to Lisa´s family. Too young too soon,,. RIP.
Daniel O'Connell
April 6, 2021
I´m so sorry to hear this news. It breaks my heart. Lisa was a friend to me when I was early in my career We are the same age so had a connection. I´m so very sorry
Mary Nolan. Lt CFD
April 6, 2021
Ron I´m so sad to hear about your wife. You were always a great co worker when you were at 57. Our thoughts are with you and your family!
John Sheridan
April 6, 2021
My sincere condolences to the Parson and Barber families may God comfort and watch over you at this difficult time.
John Moser CFD retired
April 6, 2021
I loved working with Lisa, truly an inspiration! You will be missed, may you Rest In Peace.
Sarah Cruz
April 6, 2021
My deepest condolences to you and your family she was a great person I graduated with her in the fire Academy she´s a Great Firefighter and a true friend I will miss her.
Gilbert Acevedo
April 6, 2021
My prayers to the family. It was a pleasure to work With Lisa! Always had a blast!
Shari Grassmuck
April 6, 2021
So sorry to hear about your loss. I didn't know her very well, but was a fellow firefighter. My sincere condolences to the whole family
Cindy Fagiano
April 6, 2021
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Eli Loyda & Daniel Quintero
April 6, 2021
My condolences and prayers to the Barber family , nothing but positive impact did she bring not just to mine but other´s lives as well as the rest of the family it was nothing but pure joy to have her around growing up , she was kind hearted and connected with students when she would substitute teach in school everybody will have a smile in their face when they seen her in a classroom ,she would participate in making the school a better environment for everyone and looked for what was best for the students ,not only was she a substitute teacher but one of the greatest women firefighters ever and was always there when needed ,a good mother, strong, and loving woman . May she Rest In Peace
Angel Negrete
April 5, 2021
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Andrea, Mac, Syd, Nate, Linds
April 5, 2021
I remember the last time we spoke, it was shortly after you retired, I mentioned how surprised I was to hear you retired but recall very clearly your response. Your kids! You wanted to be retired & at home for them when they went off to college, and having them know you´d be right there at home when they return. That´s you Lisa! You knew the importance of family. You knew where your place was & took it! I was proud of you then & still am. We came on the CFD together, none of us knowing each other but being ecstatic at pursuing this job we trained so hard for. You were always welcoming & eager to include everyone. So glad that our paths crossed. You will always be missed, always. My condolences to your family. Prayers on your continued journey.
Val Weyer-Haggard
April 5, 2021
Our Deepest condolences to Barber-Parson family. Lisa has definitely impacted many lives and has achieved so much in life. We miss the days when Denny and Mike would play in field and on court. We were family who filled the stands and enjoyed watching them play together. You will truly be missed.-Munoz Family
Munoz Family
Friend
April 5, 2021
I am so sorry. I hadn't seen her in quite a while, but still considered her a friend. We had the best times on Bennett and South Shore Drive! I often hoped we would run into each other in these recent days.
Paul J. Robertson, Esq.
April 5, 2021
From the minute we first met in the academy, we always had a bond. Our groups were together the whole time and we all worked as a team. Throughout our careers, no matter how long between visits, we could always joke and laugh. You proved your toughness and determination from day one, and throughout your career. You definitely were a trailblazer on the CFD, and I am honored to be your classmate. May You Rest In Peace and your family has my deepest sympathies
Kevin Krasneck
April 5, 2021
Great person to work for. God bless
Tom Stepanek
Coworker
April 5, 2021
Wayne and Linda - our deepest condolences. Lisa was a relentless warrior in Chicago Underwater Hockey, and in life. I fondly remember her in practices, games, tournaments, and after-parties, and always enjoyed her quick wit. It never surprised me that she became an accomplished leader in her chosen field, and a loving parent and spouse.
Jeff and Janice Leigh
April 5, 2021
Always a pleasure to be around when our paths crossed. My thoughts and prayers are with Ron and the rest of the family. God Bless may she rest in peace.
Joseph Kinnerk
Coworker
April 5, 2021
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Alex Gershman
April 5, 2021
We are truly saddened.. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you,,
Gary Podlasek
April 5, 2021
I really liked her. I thought she was one of the coolest people ever. Worked with her many times and often seen her in the neighborhood. Lived a couple blocks from me. I'm very sad about this. She waved to me when I rode my bike past her house.
Gary Esada
Coworker
April 5, 2021
Very sorry for your loss.
Tim Botica
April 5, 2021
Going to miss you,Capt
Roberto Torres Jr
April 4, 2021
My condolences to the family, my God bless you all
JEFFREY CHAVERS
April 4, 2021
So very sorry to hear of the passing of Elizabeth. Elizabeth had much to offer the department. It was not easy in the beginning of her very respectable career. She proved that she could handle her duties with the best of them and became accepted and respected by her peers and proved to be a very good leader and paved the way for other woman to be firefighters. Elizabeth was able to accomplish so much in her time. She will be miss by all who worked with her and she will surely be missed by her loving family who can be so very proud of her accomplishments. Elizabeth will always be remembered as a trailblazer for woman's causes and for her work and dedication as an example of true AMERICAN SPIRIT. GOD BLESS TO ALL OF HER FAMILY...
Retired CFD member, J.Tito
April 4, 2021
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Lewis Richardson
April 4, 2021
Your pure heart will be missed. I will do as you asked of me. My condolences to the family.
Bridgette R Dunagan
April 4, 2021
Condolences to everyone. Lisa will be missed greatly. I always enjoyed when our paths crossed at the firehouse. Great Lady. Very sad
Timothy O'Toole
April 4, 2021
My deepest sympathies go out to the family, friends, colleagues and dogs who were enriched by beautiful Lisa and her bountiful talents. My her memory be an eternal blessing
Marguerite Horberg
April 4, 2021
Lisa´s smile and calm demeanor will never be forgotten. She always made herself available to teach anyone who asked. Lisa was a woman of peace at a time when the Chicago Fire Department needed it. The world is a better place because she lived. May God Bless and Comfort her entire family!
Lewis Richardson
April 4, 2021
Upon hearing the news of your Transition I was over taking with sadness, until I remembered our first fire together, we were ordered to go into a basement flooded about 4-5ft, with rats, cats, a dog & some pigeons all going crazy. I didn´t want to go but we had to try, and with every step I check to see if you were still behind me. If you had turned back the job would not have gotten done. But you didn´t, and you earned my RESPECT ! Lisa U will be missed but never forgotten
Terry Cornell
April 4, 2021
My deepest condolences and prayers to the Parsons and Barber families.
Dan Indicavitch
April 4, 2021
Sorry for your loss. We were at our 35th class reunion and when Lizzie saw me she gave me the biggest hug she made me feel special. Gonna miss her and her wonderful school memories. She was my friend.
Sandra Harris
April 4, 2021
I am so sorry to hear of this tragic news. My heart goes out the Barber family. I hope the loving happy memories of her life find you often.
Eric Brodersen
April 4, 2021
I am deeply saddened to hear of Lisa's passing. Way, way too soon! I went to high school with Lisa and the thing I remember most about her was how self-assured and down-to-earth she was. I had not seen her in years, but had followed her life through other friends, and admired how she and Linda broke so many barriers as some of the only women in the CFD. My deepest condolences to Linda and the rest of her family. She will be missed!
Lynn Hartfield
April 4, 2021
Lizzie was my classmate at Kenwood. Last saw her at our 35th reunion in 2016. She was a great person with a loving spirit. Will definitely miss her smile. Rest in Peace!
Atty. Andre Sailers Sr
April 4, 2021
Lisa was a pleasant and joyful person. My condolences to Julie, Denny, Ronnie and all of the family. I'm holding space for all of you during this challenging time.
Audra Purifoye
Acquaintance
April 4, 2021
Linda I am so sorry for loss sending prayers and hugs to you and your family may she rest in enteral peace
Thomas Gariti
April 4, 2021
I loved you from the minute you were born, and will always love and miss you.
Martha Howard
April 4, 2021
Lisa was great to work with. She always made work fun and enjoyable. Rest In Peace.
Josh Daisy
April 4, 2021
Lisa was my friend and neighbor for more than 20 years. Lisa, Ron, Juliet and Denny were family. Lisa was an exceptional mother, she raised two extraordinary children who are heartbroken. Lisa will be missed by so many friends and family but she left love and memories for all of us. I will miss this woman.
Christine yaksic
Friend
April 4, 2021
Class of 11/86 Known her my entire career she was a pleasure to work with
Mark Ethell
April 4, 2021
Lisa was my friend and neighbor for over 20. Lisa,Ron,Juliet and Denny were more than neighbors to me they were family. Lisa was an exceptional mother to her children. I will miss this woman, I have so many memories with Lisa and her family. My heart is broken for Jules and Denny.
Christine yaksic
Friend
April 4, 2021
I´m so sad to hear this devastating news. My thoughts are with Linda and the rest of Lisa´s family and friends.
Julia Scott
April 3, 2021
Lisa was a joyful and dedicated teacher who loved her family dearly.
Mary Kate Witry
Coworker
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