|Lorraine Rodenbour Parsons
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Lorraine Rodenbour Parsons, 79, who owned a real estate firm that rented apartments in France and other parts of the world,
died of complications of kidney disease Dec. 12 at the Casey House hospice in Rockville. In the 1980s, Mrs. Parsons obtained
a real estate license and worked for H.A. Gill and Sons and Period Houses in Georgetown. She then established her own
business, Fine French Properties, and acted as a rental agent for apartments and chateaux all over the world, but especially
France. Until about 1999, she and her husband traveled throughout France frequently to assess properties and arrange rentals.
Mrs. Parsons was also a painter, and she studied oil painting through clubs and arts programs at Glen Echo Park, Montgomery
College in Rockville and the University of Maryland. In the late 1970s, she took up Chinese brush painting, learning the
techniques of and befriending such artists as Helen Sze McCarthy, Cheng-Khee Chee, Kan Wing-Lin and Anthony Sum.
Mrs. Parsons was involved with the Sumi-e Society of America for many years and helped organize several art shows. She also
exhibited her own works in many local shows.
Mrs. Parsons, a native of Duluth, Minn., was 2 when her father died. About 1940, she and her mother came to Washington,
where her mother found work with the War Department.
As a young woman, she was fascinated with the culture and people of the embassies in Washington. After graduating from the
old Central High School, she began doing secretarial work for several diplomatic organizations, including the French Supply
Council during World War II. Her marriage to Frenchman Jules Libert ended in divorce.
Later, while working as a secretary for the Expanded Shale, Clay, and Slate Institute, she met Marshall Parsons, an engineer.
They married in 1963 and lived for a while in the District. They moved to Bethesda in 1968, and she ran her husband's
With her fluency in Spanish and French, she assisted the families of ambassadors stationed in the Washington area and
promoted artistic and cultural cooperation. She belonged to the Hospitality and Information Service, volunteered at the Meridian
International Center and coordinated several French and Spanish conversation groups. She was a frequent attendee of
programs and receptions at the French and Mexican embassies.
In addition to their travels to France, Mrs. Parsons and her husband enjoyed frequent visits to Mexico, especially Cancun,
Cozumel and Playacar. She studied the history of the Maya and repeatedly toured the archaeological sites of the Yucatan
Mrs. Parsons and her husband moved to the Rio area of Gaithersburg in the early 1990s.
In addition to her husband, survivors include two children, Marshall F. Parsons Jr. of Gaithersburg and Francesca Parsons
Conner of Orlando; two stepsons, Michael Parsons of Ontario and Fraser Parsons of Egypt; and two grandsons.