Sara Parsons

Obituary of Sara J. Parsons

Sara Parsons has set off on her final journey on September 6, 2020. Sara Jane Heger was born to Arthur Heger and Dorothy Jackson Heger on April 21st, 1919 in Wisconsin Rapids WI. Sara spent much of her childhood with her grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. Henry Jackson. They spent their summers in a log cabin on an island in the Wisconsin River. During the Depression she left her senior year at Lincoln High School, as many did, to take a job with the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad. She took her final exams and graduated with her class. After working for the Railroad for several years, Sara was living with her mother and step-father, Clarence Jackson, and her step sister, Jane Jackson, who was also her best friend. Jane was attending Lawrence University in Appleton, WI, where she had dated a chemical engineering doctoral student named Shirley (Jim) Parsons. When Jim was in Wisconsin Rapids he called Jane to invite her to see a movie. Sara answered the phone and, sounding much like Jane, accepted the date. When Jim appeared on the doorstep, Sara explained that Jane wasn’t home, and that he was taking her to the movie instead. By the fourth date they became engaged and a June wedding was planned. Then came Pearl Harbor and Jim, who had been in ROTC, was called. The wedding was moved to April 18, 1942 and soon after Jim was off reporting for duty in the Panama Canal. Sara went to visit an aunt in New York. She saw in the newspaper that the army was enlisting women, and, thinking she could then be with Jim, signed up to be one of the first WAC’s. Sara started training in Des Moines, IA. While there, First Lady Eleanore Roosevelt came to Fort Des Moines, and Sara was the one to give her a tour. Upon completion of basic training, she was accepted to Officer Candidate School. Sara was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U. S. Army. Later Sara was stationed at Daytona Beach FL as Company Commander. Next she went to Fort Terry on Plum Island, off the coast of Connecticut, a Coastal Defense Base. Once the War was winding down Sara was transferred to Boston, where she gave speeches and did recruiting. She later wrote a book about her experiences, titled, “First WAC”. After the War, Sara and Jim settled in Wisconsin Rapids and started a family. They had two sons, Peter and Tom. Jim worked at Consolidated Paper Mill. They built a new home on the Wisconsin River. Fast forward twenty five years or so, and there was a change in the economy and there were jobs lost at the mill. This is when the exciting travel began, as Jim took jobs all over the world, where he helped to set up new paper mills. They lived for a year in Dalaman, Turkey. After that came a job with the International Executive Service in Mexico. Then Panama, Oslo, Norway, San Paulo, Brazil, and Santiago, Chile. After each assignment they travelled for several weeks before coming home. During this time period, in between jobs, Sara worked at the MacMillan Library, which she enjoyed very much. One of her great joys in life was playing bridge, which she did into her late 90’s. Sara was predeceased by her infant son, Christopher, her grandparents, parents and step father, step sister, and her husband Jim. Also predeceased by her half brother Bill Heger, as well as her step mother, Marguerite Shipway Heger. Sara is survived by her sons Peter (Sue LeRoy) of Fish Creek WI and Tom (Mary) of Minneapolis MN. Grandchildren Rebecca Sara Parsons Klevan (Lars) and Ethan Robinson Parsons (Sarah Burridge), great grandchildren Anna Sara Klevan and Liv Eleanore Klevan, all of Minneapolis. Sister in law Dee Jay Heger, of New York, nephew Todd Heger (Julie) and their daughter, Scout, of Connecticut, and cousin Swanee Tomczak, of Wisconsin Rapids. The family would like to thank the staff of Heartland Hospice for their support. If so desired, Memorials may be made to the MacMillan Library. At Sara’s request, there will be no Memorial Service.
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