Mary Elizabeth Parr, born on March 4, 1940 in Steubenville, OH, took her last breath at 3:27 a.m. on May 2, 2020 at Coachman Square, an assisted living facility in Woodbridge, CT. She had celebrated her 80th birthday at Coachman Square on March 4th with her daughter Julie Parr, her son-in-law Will Becker and her grandson, Owen Parr.
Liz passed away from COVID-19 but in a fortunate turn of events, her daughter and son-in-law had already recovered from the disease and were able to be with her during her final days. She is survived by her daughter, her son-in-law, her grandson Owen, her sister-in-law Judy Forsythe, and her nieces and nephews who include: Lori Sheldon, Ed McCarthy, Kris Lesnock, Heidi Lubich, Kurt Humbert, Erik Humbert and Jeanine Forsythe. She also was survived by many relatives and friends who knew what a lovely person she was and cared deeply about her. Liz, who was also known as Mary, Mary E. and Mary Elizabeth depending on her audience, was an only child born to Thomas Gribbin and Elizabeth Baron Gribbin in Steubenville, Ohio. She went to Steubenville Central Catholic High School, then to the University of Steubenville for college and to California University of Pennsylvania for her Master’s Degree in remedial reading education. She met her husband, Fred Parr, at the University of Steubenville, and moved to Uniontown, Pennsylvania with him to raise a family and help with the family business, the Judy and Jean Pastry Shop. In Uniontown, she was a very social person. She belonged to the Jefferson Club of St. John the Evangelist Church, played cards routinely with her friends in their card club and regularly hosted parties at her home in Heritage Hills. She taught in the Connellsville School District and at St. John’s Elementary. In mid-life, she lived in Latrobe and Greensburg, Pennsylvania and taught in the Yough School District as a Reading Specialist and a 7th grade teacher. She was a wonderful teacher, with both an ability to command a classroom and an easy confidence when joking with her students. She was passionate about reading, and teaching others to read. She touched the lives of many. In her spare time, she would sometimes tutor homebound students by visiting them and teaching them at home. While in Latrobe, she lived in Wimmerton and belonged to St. Vincent’s Bacillica. In Greensburg she was a member of Blessed Sacrament Cathedral. Liz confronted the challenges she faced after her divorce in some of the most beautiful ways – by creating several Families of Choice with close friends who became her sisters, her support systems and who provided Siblings of Choice for her daughter. Those people got her through tough times in ways that were meaningful, and critical to her survival and healing. Once she found out that she was going to have a grandchild, her life changed dramatically. She retired from her 30+ year career as a teacher and moved to be close to her daughter and grandson. She devoted the latter part of her life to helping to care for him. She adored him more than anything and was delighted to be a Grandma. She maintained many hobbies and interests throughout her life. She took up golfing in her 40s and loved it but was always frustrated that she had not started earlier. Golfing trips, cruises and other vacations with her buddies brought her joy. If she was at home, we would often find her watching golf tournaments on TV. Her house was always beautifully appointed and she maintained a garden no matter where she lived, filled with glamorous, colorful annuals. She enjoyed reading historic fiction, and maintained a library membership throughout her life. She passionately followed politics, and volunteered for many Democratic campaigns including for the historic Presidential run of John F. Kennedy. If she wasn’t watching golf, she was watching C-Span. No matter what Congress was doing, she was keenly aware of it. She loved dogs and parented many in her lifetime. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the New Haven Free Public Library at 133 Elm St, New Haven, CT 06510. Please indicate that the gift is IMO Mary Elizabeth Parr. There will be a Zoom Memorial Service on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. Please contact Julie Parr for more information.