1946 Sibyl was born during the first month of the “Baby Boom” to a native North Carolinian housewife/bride and a Pennsylvania Ford dealer. This coupling provided two distinct and equally close extended family units: Franco Belgian-American in Pennsylvania and redneck Scotch-Irish throughout the South. Inherited her mother’s temper. She contracted her first pneumonia at age two weeks. Traveled at age 6 weeks with mother on first plane ride to bid both hello and good-bye to her dying maternal grandmother. Her mother remained deeply distraught and depressed for decades.
1948-1964 Big sister to three siblings, small town roots, polio inoculation test trials, Irons Memorial French United Presbyterian Church, hiding drills under a school desk to survive nuclear attacks during the Cold War because “The Russians will come to destroy Pittsburgh first. We have the steel”, fledgling Bibliophile, Brownies, Girl Scouts, camping, Lake Erie cottage, Pompano Beach condo, endless allergy shots and doctor visits, mother’s anger, chubby pretty girl who hated being teased, lots of slapping fights with boys culminating with the strategic – and regrettable- placing of a rock in a muff that cold-cocked Billy Cook and got her in a heap of trouble in third grade. Family purchased a gas furnace because of her coal aggravated asthma, COPD, and allergies. Ten years of piano lessons and classical music training, three years of flute, a lifetime of singing, fell in love with Ricky Nelson-and in an early equal opportunity move-also Doris Day. Headed for the garage/dealership after school to corner dad into talks about life. Designated singer of the alma mater theme at high school football games and traveled with the band, runner-up for title Miss Teenage Pittsburgh (sang “Let Me Entertain You”-perhaps not the best musical choice for a 17 year old.)
Winner of Voice of America writing prize for an essay on “Patriotism”.
1964-1967 University of Pittsburgh Literature and Music double major,(B.A. 1967) though often diverted by preponderance of estrogen and curiosity. Recorded chapters of law books for blind Pitt Law students on her Sony 200 reel-to-reel recorder (though inventing Books on Tape did not occur to her). Runner-up In Miss Pennsylvania pageant (sang “Softly as I Leave You”—a metaphor for her pageant interest). Almost flunked out second trimester, turned it all around, lived in the ‘honor dorms’ and graduated a year early. Took GRE exam on her 21st Birthday. No sorority for this gal, joined and hung out with the bohemians in Heinz Chapel Choir and Pitt Players, marched in support of Civil Rights, Stop the War in Vietnam, Early Women’s Libber.
Intern go-fer position with WQED with Mr. Rogers Neighborhood when it was still a local Pittsburgh show. Pianist Johnny Costa of MRN was her accompanist fr the Miss Pennsylvania preliminaries. Lots of letters to editors, Senators, Congressmen, White House.
1967-1976 Miami years, University of Miami teaching assistant,(M.Ed. 1969) life on the edge with her “I can do it all” attitude, fell in love & married, daughter Phaedra Ruffalo, Masters degree, Met her heroine and first famous author, Pearl Buck. She was a fund raiser for Cystic Fibrosis and Disabled Workers of Miami, and the Girl Scouts of America. Manager at Cuban Refugee Assistance Program, Freedom Flights, Pedro Pan reunification, Bay of Pigs survivors as co-workers, Watergate investigations. Another Mother for Peace. Royal Palm Beach Colony and another mentor, Mona Lewis. First woman business-side department head of Miami Herald, hot type to cold type conversion responsibility for retraining Linotype operators, HR responsibility for four other Herald publications in Key West, Broward county, Neighbors in Dade County, and Brandenton. Consciousness raising groups, marital problems/divorce/custody fights, left marriage before she was part of a murder-suicide headline.
Radio Voice-over work for fledgling campus radio station WVUM. Voice of Miami Herald subscription sales on South Florida radio stations. Wrote column for Presstime Magazine, and letters to editors, senators, etc.
1976-2008 Philadelphia/Boston/Portland years. One of first women executive recruiters, 80% travel/bona fide Road Warrior, raised daughter alone, mentored by Gordon Wahls and company, Italian lovers & opera. Ulrika Palmcrantz, exchange student, became lifelong daughter and friend. Started own executive search firm, Executive Resource Group. She was a fund raiser and gauntlet escort for Planned Parenthood of Brookline, MA and subsequently PP of Northern New England, fund raiser for The Computer Museum of Boston (museum later relocated to San Jose). Taught seminars at Cornell University, RIT, and Poynter Institute of Media Studies. Part-time, large-sized fashion model as a lucrative hobby. (“I’m 43, have crow’s feet, sagging tits, big hips, and I’m a model. Is this a great country, or what?” – her mantra.) Anchored by friendships. Edgehill Newport and AA, Board of Maine Womens Fund for six years, Dartmouth and Rassias. Married typographic icon, Mike Parker, became stepmother of three and grandmother of nine.Traveled with archaeologists Linda Schele, Merle Greene Robertson, Gillet Griffin & her husband to dozens of Mayan sites in central America over a four year period. Helped in financing, staffing, and defending of husband’s company, Pages Software/Steve Jobs & Nextstep/patent infringement/settlement. Transitioned from fury to forgiveness to friendship over husband’s erratic actions prior to diagnosis of his Alzheimer’s disease.
Radio WBWT Philadelphia recorded pre-taped readings for the blind intended for after midnight broadcasts allowed by FCC. (HITE REPORT, Esquire, Playboy) Subject of Northweat Airlines Overseas In-Flight Business Entertainment. She was interviewed about her executive recruitung practice.
You can listen to the interview here:
Published business articles in Mass High Tech, Casco Bay Weekly, Executive Recruiter News, Presstime, Editor and Publisher, and numerous American newspapers. Administrator of Multiple Myeloma blog for sister’s bone marrow transplant treatment http://stephaniemasquelier.blogspot.com. Letters to the editor, Governor, Senators, Congresswomen, White House.
2008 to Present Career-ending accident, many surgeries, focus on non-profit volunteer activities and the beginning of final third of life as writer. Yale Publishing Course. Key West Literary Seminars. Las Brujas with Christina Garcia, dozens of MWPA seminars. On two-woman team (Joan Dempsey) to recruit new Executive Director of Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, agreed to serve MWPA Board as President from end of 2010 to 2013. Continued on Board to co-chair (with Katie Bouton) MWPA’s most successful fundraiser in its history, Hotsy Totsy, in August 2013. Longtime continuing board member of Global Press Institute and Seven Eagles Media Productions. Fund raiser for the Center for Maine Contemporary Art and Coastal Studies for Girls. Advisor/supporter and past Board member of Maine Womens Fund. Volunteers with Your Write Mind. Currently writing memoir, biography, short stories, poetry.
Published Caregiving piece with www.womensmedia.com
Won ‘Autumn of our Years’ award from Obit-mag.com
Administrator of blog for former husband during his journey with Alzheimer’s disease through ‘end of life’. http://mikeparkerfontgod.blogspot.com
Letters to the editor, Governor, Senators, Congresswomen/men, White House.