Born at El Cajon, CA, with identical twin sister Hester (also deaf). Deafness discovered at age 4, attributed to either premature birth, possible undulant fever at infancy, or whooping cough at age 3 1/2. Began education in an oral school and public schools, then transferred to California School for the Deaf, Berkeley in 1932 for 3 years until the family moved to Tahiti 1935-1941. They returned to the U.S.; she re-entered the California School for the Deaf, then attended Gallaudet College 1943-1945 before withdrawing for marriage and a family. Statistician for Navy 1955-1960, then keypunch operator 1961-1963. Re-entered Gallaudet for a B.A. (1967), said to be the first grandmother ever to graduate from Gallaudet. M.A. (1972) from University of Maryland; ABD (1982) at George Washington University. Taught English at the Maryland School for the Deaf, then art teacher at Gallaudet College, 1968-1988, then coordinator of international history collections at Gallaudet, 1989-1993. Traveled widely around the world, promoting Total Communication in deaf education wherever she went. Responsible for activating a deaf Peace Corps program in the Phillippines. Author of two autobiographical books, Sound of the Stars (1971) and I Didn't Hear the Dragon Roar (1988). Twin sister, also deaf, was Hester "Pollai" Parsons (q.v.).
Great Deaf Americans, The Second Edition, p.196-201; The Eagle Soars to Enlightenment, p.376-378; Deaf Women's Lives, p.189-304; DeafNation, March 2000, p.7; Deaf American, v.28 n.2, Oct. 1975, p.11; Deaf Women, p.121.
25 September 1923-