Former council president Parrott dies at 68

March 06, 2009|By Jonathan Pitts | Jonathan Pitts,

Joanne S. Parrott, the first woman president of the Harford County Council and a Maryland state delegate from 1998 to 2006, was found dead at her Fallston home Wednesday. She was 68, and the cause of death was unknown, according to a statement yesterday from the county executive's office.

County Executive David R. Craig ordered Harford County flags flown at half-staff in her honor.

She was "a hard-working legislator who understood the needs of the many rural constituents in her district," said state Sen. Barry Glassman. In addition, he said, she was "a flamboyant personality who brought a flair for the dramatic to politics" - right down to the trademark overstuffed toy parrot she brought with her to many public events.

Parrott, a Republican, represented District B on the Harford County Council, an area that includes Fallston, from 1986 through 1994, and served as council president from 1994 to 1998. She was elected in 1998 to represent District 35A in the House of Delegates and served there until she was defeated in the 2006 Republican primary by conservative candidate Donna Stifler.

Parrott was born in Ephrata, Pa., and graduated from Ephrata High School. She attended Gettysburg College and the Peabody Conservatory of Music. She worked in the advertising industry early in her career. She was a co-founder of the Highlands School, a private institution in Bel Air for children in kindergarten and grades one through eight who have learning differences and disabilities. She also was a member of the school's board of directors.

Among her interests as an elected official were the 4-H Club and the Boy Scouts - "she rarely missed an Eagle Scout Court of Honor," Glassman said - and the volunteer fire companies in her district.

"She loved the minutiae of legislating, but loved the people side of politics as well," he said.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

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