Elizabeth Parker, a member of St. Clare Parish in Southwest Portland, died June 22 after surviving a year and a half of terminal cancer. She was surrounded by her family. There was a funeral Mass.

She was born in Syracuse, New York, to Robert Peiffer and Alice Jagelle. Big sister to Jen, Rob and Ted, she grew up with dozens of local cousins, and attended Catholic schools, attracting life-long friends.

She was part of the first-ever women’s class at Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. After graduating with honors and passing the CPA, she entered public accounting working for one of what were the big eight accounting firms in Chicago. Moving to Portland in 1978, she soon joined the local office of Coopers and Lybrand, where she became its first-ever woman partner. She left to pursue a master’s degree in counselling psychology and then became a pre-school teacher at the Southwest Portland Community College’s “toddler room” for 2-year-olds.

She married Gregson Parker in 1991 and was a member of St. Clare Parish.

Parenting, working, and dancing in Southwest Portland for the next 25 years, she became an integral member of the Southwest Portland Community College community, a tight-knit Women’s Circle, a Nia/Fusion dance crew, a St. Clare prayer group and others. As she said in her last days, the people you love are what “knits your life together.”

An avid reader, she ended many days cozily curled up with family, books, and the family cats. She always found great joy and solace in nature (especially the annual family spring break beach trips), and achieved her retirement goal of a beautiful bird sanctuary in the backyard. She often said, “Hold fast, and keep going.”

She is survived by her husband, her daughters Sara and Heart, her siblings and cousins.

Multiple memorials will be scheduled post-covid.