Born: February 27, 1926
Died: March 18, 2002
Married: Henry Parnass
Children: Geoffrey W. Parnass, Lawrence E. Parnass, John H. Parnass
Barbara Johnson Parnass was one of the founding Board members when Historic Saranac Lake was incorporated in 1980.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, July 2, 2002
Barbara Johnson Parnass
Barbara Johnson Parnass, 76, of Glenwood Estates, died March 17 at the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake with family members at her bedside.
A person of deep social conscience, Mrs. Parnass actively sought to preserve the unique cultural and historic qualities of the the North Country. She nurtured a wide circle of friendships with people of all ages.
During her 30 years in Saranac Lake, she proved herself a tireless supporter of area arts, history, environmental, human service and education causes. As a fine arts photographer, her images captured the beauty of the Adirondacks and the subtle play between human enterprise and the natural world. Her searching intelligence, humor and caring for others will be remembered by all who knew her.
Mrs. Parnass was born Feb. 27, 1926, the daughter of the late Dr. Paul B. and Helen Johnson. She was educated at the Riverdale Country Day School in the Bronx and at Mount Holyoke College, where she earned a bachelor's degree in American Studies in 1948.
After college, she served as a personal assistant to a lawyer representing Rockefeller interests in New York City. She later became active in local historic, charitable and garden activities in St. Joseph, Mich., and Erie, Pa.
Mrs. Parnass was a founder and board member of Historic Saranac Lake, the Adirondack Architectural Heritage Society, North Star Industries and the Saranac Lake River Walk project.
She served lengthy and productive terms on the boards of the Adirondack Medical Center, the Saranac Lake Free Library, the River Walk Commission and the Essex County Garden Club. For many years, she was a volunteer driver for the Meals on Wheels program.
In 1990, she was appointed by Gov. Mario Cuomo to the College Council of the State University of New York, in Plattsburgh, where she served until 2001.
Her three-decade career as a photographer led to many one-woman and group exhibitions throughout northern New York. Her works were included in traveling national photographic exhibits and received numerous juried awards. Mrs. Parnass also served as the archivist of historic photographs in the Adirondack Collection of the Saranac Lake Free Library.
For many years, Mrs. Parnass enjoyed hiking and cross-country skiing. She was an avid gardener, reader and letter-writer.
She leaves her husband of 52 years, Henry W. Parnass, and three sons, Geoffrey W. Parnass of Ridgewood, N.J.; Lawrence E. Parnass of Ashfield, Mass.; and John H. Parnass of Seattle, Wash.; six grandchildren; four nieces and nephews; and a brother, John D. Johnson of Charlestown, R.I.
Burial will be private and there will be no calling hours. The Fortune-Keough Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
A public service celebrating her life will be held later, at a date to be announced. Memorial gifts may be made to the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library, 100 Main St., Saranac Lake, or to the High Peaks Hospice, Trudeau Road, Saranac Lake.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, March 25, 1982
Negatives restored with library grant
SARANAC LAKE - The Saranac Lake Free Library has received a $2,185 grant from the New York State Council on the Arts. Visual Arts Division for 1982. The grant was conceived and applied for by Barbara Parnass of Saranac Lake.
The money will be used to continue work on the library's collection of approximately 2,000 glass plate negatives of historic local scenes, people and events. The negatives are the work of two resident photographers. William L. Distin and William Kollecker.
The plates are being cleaned, catalogued and properly stored Parnass is printing photographs from the negatives which will be used for research purposes and for library exhibits.
- The Barbara Parnass Slide Collection at New York Heritage Digital Collections