Constance Parson, who taught mathematics at colleges across the South before returning home to Macon to care for her ill mother and tend one of the tidiest yards on Pio Nono Avenue, died last week in the house where she was born.
One of her neighbors, Audrey Harden, last saw her Tuesday. On Saturday, Harden called the police to check on her. They found Parson’s body inside the house at the corner of Pio Nono Avenue and Straight Street. Authorities said she died of natural causes. Parson was 90.
If you have traveled Pio Nono below Mercer University Drive, you passed Parson’s house. The backyard was raked dirt and it was immaculate, with rock borders and, as a focal point, a tree stump adorned with blue bottles that glinted in the sunlight.
Parson’s place sits across from Cirrus Academy, the school once known as Hamilton Elementary, where her mother, Mae Miller, was the first principal.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Constance Lucille Miller Parson graduated from Ballard High School in 1943. Four years later, she graduated form Paine College in Augusta, where she sang in the choir, with a science degree.
As a young woman, the crisp-voiced Parson sang at weddings. She taught at Southern University in Louisiana for about five years. She spent two decades at Miles College in Alabama and also was an instructor at Fort Valley State.
She was married, briefly, in her 20s, and after her divorce she traveled to Europe, Mexico and India, and also spent time in Michigan, Colorado and California.
Parson moved back home in 1983 to care for her Alzheimer’s-stricken mother. In the late 1990s, she was one of the city’s honorees at a “Celebration of the Wisdom of African-American Women.”
In 2013, The Telegraph profiled Parson for a feature about people who work and live along Pio Nono Avenue.
If you acted silly or said something cutting up, she’d take off her garden hat and pretend to swat you.
She passed many of her days sweeping magnolia leaves from her curb and gardening.
She liked the TV gameshow “Jeopardy,” and was sure to be done with her yard work in the evenings so she could watch.
But this spring, the plots where her flowers once grew — potato plants, mums, hostas, black-eyed Susans, marigolds — do not look like she had been taking care of them.
Her backyard had grown up.
She drove a 1992 Mercury Tracer, and on Saturday, it was parked under a shelter behind her house. Back near the pens and vegetable patches where, a century ago, her grandparents raised beans, peas and okra, and where they kept a horse named Prince and a mule named Dolly.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report.