Obituary: Elizabeth 'Libby' Parr enriched Sacramento arts community, charities

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 4B
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 - 7:40 am

Elizabeth "Libby" Parr, an artist and businesswoman who volunteered her talents to raise money for AIDS organizations, died Saturday of cancer, her family said. She was 71.

A Sacramento resident for 35 years, Mrs. Parr was active in the art community as an accomplished sculptor, collector and studio owner. Besides commissioned portraits, she sculpted small-scale, ceramic figures of people in topical situations that were exhibited at Sacramento galleries.

She created and showed her works and rented space to other artists at a studio she co-owned on J Street. She collected paintings by Gregory Kondos and works by other noted artists.

Mrs. Parr also donated art to raise money for charity as an early AIDS activist. She served on the board of Sacramento Aid to AIDS, which was founded in the 1980s to provide financial help to people with the disease.

From 2006 to 2009, she served on the board of Capital City AIDS Fund, a nonprofit group that raises money for HIV/AIDS services. She designed table settings and oversaw decorations for the group's annual "Evening with Oscar" gala, a fundraiser that draws more than 600 people.

"Libby had a great deal of passion for the cause, and she was a hard worker," CCAF president Joyce Mitchell said. "She did everything and she always did it with a smile.

Mrs. Parr's artistic endeavors included making jewelry, including pieces she sold at her own counter at Canfield's & Co. in the Pavilions shopping center. She also had an interior design business and specialized in creating offices for doctors and dentists.

Born in 1941 in Detroit, Elizabeth Sue Pickman studied graphic arts at the Society of Arts and Crafts in Detroit.

Married at 21, she settled in Mill Valley for several years before moving to Africa for two years with her husband, a doctor who volunteered with the Peace Corps in Senegal. She raised two children and found artistic inspiration in the simplicity of African sculpture.

Her marriage ended in divorce after she returned to the Bay Area in 1976. She reconnected at her 20th high school reunion in Detroit with Michael Parr, a friend she had known since kindergarten, and they married in 1980.

Mrs. Parr was a warm, outgoing woman with a sense of style and a generous spirit. Besides supporting AIDS organizations, she donated proceeds from a jewelry sale to a family support group at the former Mather Air Force Base and helped organize the 2002 Barons' Ball for the American Cancer Society.

"Libby was a fantastic person who realized community was important," Mitchell said. "She gave of herself so she could better enrich her life and the lives of others around her."

Elizabeth 'Libby' Parr

Born: March 6, 1941

Died: Jan. 5, 2013

Survived by: Husband, Michael of Sacramento; mother, Lenore Pickman of Detroit; children, Jamie Miller of Seattle and Robin Cahayla of Granite Bay; stepchildren, Howard, Stuart and Wendy, all of New York; sister, Ruthanne Pearlman of Detroit; brother, Michael Pickman of Detroit; and six grandchildren

Services: 1 p.m. today at Mosaic Law Congregation, 2300 Sierra Blvd., Sacramento

Remembrances: In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Mrs. Parr may be made to Sutter Cancer Center or Sutter Home Health.

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