Earline Parmon, Winston-Salem public servant, dies at age 72

Earline Parmon, Winston-Salem public servant, dies at age 72
March 17
00:00 2016
Earline Parmon



Former N.C. lawmaker Earline Parmon died on Tuesday, March 15.

Parmon, 72, passed away from complications of a brief illness Tuesday afternoon at Novant Forsyth Medical Center. Her goddaughter and publicist Tanya Wiley said Parmon was surrounded by family and friends when she passed.

“Everyone was singing hymns and quoting Scripture,” she said. “She passed on to eternal rest just the way she had talked about.”

The family began receiving guests at the home of Earline Parmon beginning Wednesday, March 16, at 10 a.m. Funeral ervices for  Parmon will be held at  Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1075 Shalimar Drive, Winston-Salem, at noon on Monday, March 21.  Funeral arrangements are being handled by Gilmore’s Funeral Home in Winston Salem.

Parmon was the director of outreach for U.S. Rep. Alma Adams. Before that, she had a long career as an elected official. She served for 12 years on the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners. She represented the 72nd District in the N.C. House of Representatives for 12 years. In 2012, she became the first African-American woman in Forsyth County elect-ed to the N.C. Senate, representing the 32nd District. She won re-election for her seat, but then gave it up in 2015 to take the position with Adams.

A statement from Adams called Parmon one of her “closest confidants, colleagues and a true friend.” ”Earline Parmon was the true definition of a public servant,” said Adams. “She dedicated her life to fighting for justice and fighting for our communities.”

Parmon was also an educator and school principal, founding the now-defunct LIFT Academy, working with minority and at-risk youth. She was also an associate minister at Exodus United Baptist Church.

Parmon’s spiritual adviser, Exodus United Baptist Church Pastor Alvin Carlisle said, “Minister Parmon was a force to be reckoned with. She may have been small in stature, but she was a powerhouse who loved The Lord!”

Parmon was the first vice president of the Winston-Salem NAACP branch. Local NAACP President Isaac “Ike” Howard said she was a fearless grassroots leader who was mentored by the late Velma Hopkins, an organizer with the Local 22 tobacco workers labor union. He said Parmon was dedicated to helping the unrecognized, unrepresented and neglected. He said it will be hard for anyone to fill the void she leaves.

“We don’t grow that kind anymore,” he said.

Former N.C. Rep. Larry Womble  knew Parmon for 40 years and the two became inseparable colleagues as representatives. He said Winston-Salem has lost a hero who loved her city. He said he was impressed by her loyalty, dedication, commitment and humor.

“She lived her life, especially as a legislator, as an example,” he said. “I hope the ones that are com-ing along now can use her activism and her commitment and her involvement as a model to go by. You can’t replace her, but we have young people who can certainly emulate that.”

Sometimes called “the dynamic duo,” Parmon and Womble championed various pieces of legislation together. This included passing compensation for victims of the state’s eugenics sterilization pro-gram and the Racial Justice Act, which let those on death row appeal for a lesser sentence if they believe race was involved in their sentencing. The RJA was later repealed by the Republican-majority General Assembly.

N.C. Sen. Paul Lowe, who replaced Parmon when he was appointed to the 32nd District Senate seat in 2015, also said Parmon left a great legislative legacy.

“Senator Parmon was always concerned about helping people, the disenfranchised and those who did not have a voice,” he said. “During her tenure in the legislature, she fought fervently for the less-fortunate in our county and state.  She will be missed by many.”

Parmon was married for more than 47 years to Albert Parmon, who passed away in 2014. The couple had many children and grandchildren.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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