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 her 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.
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 and was a member of the US Women's Underwater Hockey Team.
In her retirement, Lisa loved being in the stands at both her daughter and son's baseball games, spending time with her extended family, 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 by Chicago Tribune on Apr. 4, 2021.