William Patrick (“Bill”) Parnell, 87, of Stratham, NH, passed away Jan. 6, 2010 after a long illness following complications from heart valve replacement surgery. A former resident of Falls Church, he was born in Easthampton, Mass., the son of the late James Parnell and his wife, Mary, a native of Skibbereen, County Cork, Ireland.
Bill was salutatorian of his graduating class at St. Michael High School, Northampton, MA, and received his B.A. Summa Cum Laude from St. Anselm College, Class of 1943. He held an M.A. from Boston University and pursued further graduate studies at Columbia University, NYC.
He served in the US Navy during World War II, completing his training as a communications officer at Harvard University.
Bill taught American History at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY, and at Annandale High School in Annandale, VA. After his retirement, Bill worked in the reference library of the Army Times newspaper in Washington, DC. Upon moving to Stratham, NH, Bill worked as a paralegal, doing real estate title abstracting.
A communicant of St. Michael Church in Exeter, Bill was active as a volunteer with the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry. He and his wife, Pat, were home communion ministers for the shut-ins. While living in Falls Church, Bill was active in Democratic politics and in the local citizens group, Citizens for a Better City.
Bill was pre-deceased by a half sister, Mae Ryan; by his brother and sister-in-law, James and Sadie Louise Parnell; and by infant twin grandchildren, Liam and Sadie Claire Parnell.
He is survived by Pat, his wife of 62 years; his sister, Barbara of Easthampton, Mass.; four sons and their wives: William B. and Bernadette of Derry, NH; Edward J. and Ellen of Richmond, Larry and Janice of Lansdowne, Va.; and Howard and Mary of Falls Church. There are eleven surviving grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, plus nieces and nephews in both his and Pat’s families.
Bill enjoyed reading, especially history and biography, as well as mystery novels, and he was very fond of Celtic and folk music. He was a strong Red Sox fan and an avid Washington Redskins supporter. His family and friends appreciated his quick mind and his wry sense of humor as well as his integrity and compassion. He was a devoted family man, especially delighting in time spent with the youngest members. He and his wife enjoyed traveling, particularly with Elderhostel programs. Bill and Pat made three trips to Ireland, getting acquainted with his mother’s relatives there.
Services: For a schedule of services, go to www.brewittfuneralhome.com- A funeral Mass is scheduled for noon on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010 at St. Michael Church, Exeter, with a light luncheon for the congregation after the service. Interment will be in Old Blanford Cemetery, Petersburg, Va., at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Bill’s memory to St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry, St. Michael’s Church, 9 Lincoln St., Exeter, NH 03833. To sign an on line guest book, please visit www.brewittfuneralhome.com