Former Gallaudet Professor Killed in Traffic Accident

Service Dog Survives To Be Reunited With Family

On Wed., Dec. 18 at approximately 3 p.m., 90-year-old Frances Margret Parsons of Town Square Towers (TST), 700 Seventh St. SW, was walking her service dog, Wopert, on G St. SW at the northern ramp to TST's parking garage. She was struck by a 2013 black Porsche Cayenne S exiting the garage.

Parsons died of her injuries at local hospital. The case is under investigation by the Metropolitan Police Department's Major Crash Unit.

Wopert was not harmed. She was placed in the New York Avenue Washington Humane Shelter temporarily. Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells' office has arranged for her to cared for by a neighbor until she can be returned to the family.

A Rich and Varied Life

Parsons, known as Peggie, was born in El Cajon, California on Sept. 25, 1923 along with her twin, Hester. Both were identified as deaf at age five. Her parents enrolled the girls at the California School for the Deaf (CSD) in Berkeley in 1931. Hard hit by the Great Depression, the family moved to Tahiti in 1935. On that South Pacific island, Parsons discovered her passion for writing. Sound of the Stars, which she published in 1971, was based on her childhood there.

When the US declared war on Japan in 1941, the Parsons family escaped to on a sailing schooner to San Francisco. The twins returned to CSD. After graduating from CSD in 1943, Parsons attended Gallaudet for two years, withdrawing in 1945 to marry and raise her children in California. After a divorce in 1964, Parsons returned to Gallaudet; and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History in 1967.

After briefly teaching English at the Maryland School for the Deaf in Frederick, Parsons returned to Galluadet as a tutor in both Spanish and English in 1968. In 1973, she joined the Art Department as an Associate Professor teaching History of Art until 1988. Then, she served as Coordinator of International History Collections until her retirement in 1993.

Parsons was an avid international traveler. During the 1970s and 1980s, she toured Iran, China, Turkey, India, Australia, Southern and Western Africa, Southeast Asia, Russia, Mongolia and South American. At the age of 83, she traveled to Antarctica in 2006. Her book, I Didn't Hear the Dragon Roar, upon her travels alone in China in 1986.

Parsons served as a consultant to the Peace Corps; and established a program for deaf volunteers in the Philippines. 

In 1977, Gallaudet's Board of Trustees honored her with a commendation for her work abroad. Her other publications include Deaf Women's Lives and I Knew Elizabeth Peet. Parsons also wrote prolifically for magazines including Deaf Life, The Deaf American, The Buff and Blue, and The Silent News.

Parsons is survived by her two daughters.