Thomas Darrell Parnell entered his heavenly home on Thursday, September 3, 2020, with his loving wife of 61 years at his bedside. Tom was born on June 29, 1934, in Booneville, Mississippi.
Born into a hardworking family, he grew up knowing how to work hard on the farm picking cotton, pulling corn, and whatever the job of the day required and never strayed from that training. He graduated from Trimble High School in 1953 and soon entered the United States Air Force where he served in Germany and France receiving the rank of Airman 1st Class. While serving in the Air Force, he learned the importance of the need for more education and began his higher education studies. He received his Bachelor's degree from Memphis State University, his Masters from the University of Alabama and his Doctorate of Education from Memphis State University.
His goal in life was to help others. He was counselor at the Methodist Children's Home in Selmer, Alabama. He served in several capacities for Dyersburg City Schools as teacher, counselor, Principal of Bruce School and School Psychologist. He pastored several churches, including 10 years as pastor of Harmony Baptist Church in Newbern. He and his wife Pat founded Break-Thru Educational Service providing tutoring for children with computerized machine assisted learning in 1970's. To further help students be successful in school, Tom and Pat, along with great assistance from their son, Dwayne and daughter Cindy, founded Parnell Educational Publishing producing tutorial materials in hardcopy and computer.
He was a member of the Dyersburg Dyer County Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Dyer County Election Commission, President of Retired Teachers Association, President of Crime Stoppers, a member of the Mulherin post of the American Legion, President of the Newbern Library Board, Dyer County Commissioner, President of Kiwanis Club, President of Lions Club, an active participant in the Newbern Masonic Lodge and Mayor of Newbern, Tennessee.
He is survived by his wife, Pat; his daughter, Cindy Dobbs (Edward) of Memphis; daughter-in-law, Molly Baur; four grandchildren, Eli Baur of Santa Barbara, California, Andrew Dobbs, Ella Dobbs, and Lila Dobbs, Memphis; his brothers William Parnell and Ronnie Parnell of Newbern and extended family members who cherish his memory.
Preceding him to their heavenly home are his parents, William and Leila Parnell and son, Dwayne.
Due to the current pandemic and the family's concern for the health and well being of others no formal visitation will be held. The family welcomes your presence at the funeral service to be held at 4:00 PM on Sunday, September 6, 2020 at Harmony Baptist Church in Newbern, Tennessee, with Rev. James Combs and Dr. Jim Keeton officiating.
Memorials may be directed to Harmony Baptist Church, Box 178, Newbern, Tennessee or Alzheimer's Foundation, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Floor 17, Chicago, Illinois 60601.
Online condolences may be made to the family at johnsonwilliamsfuneralhome.com. Johnson-Williams Funeral Home is honored to serve the family of Thomas Darrell Parnell
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