Charlie Parnell
1940 - 2020
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Charlie was born January 1, 1940 to Charley and Charlcye Parnell in Salem, NM. He grew up in Salem and graduated from Hatch Valley High School. From there he attended New Mexico Western College and graduated with degrees in biology and business. After college, he went to Officer Training School in San Antonio, TX and was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant USAF, then began active duty in August of 1962. Charlie married Mary Bearden on August 7, 1964 in Albuquerque, NM. As a military family, they experienced a life on the move, making their home in Germany, Turkey, Texas, Virginia, Colorado, and South Carolina. Charlie also served in Saudi Arabia, Korea, and Thailand. Charlie retired in 1988 and the family chose to make their home in Durango.

Locally, Charlie is well known among the veteran population. He served as a Veterans Service Officer and was an advocate for all vets. Helping veterans was his passion.

He is survived by his wife, Mary; daughter: Laura (Todd) Barthol; grandchildren: Heidi and Erik; sister: Ida Clark; niece: Gayla (Carl) Rogers; nephew: David Wilkinson; and many other extended family and wonderful friends.

He was preceded in death by a son: Michael; parents; and sister: Margie Garner.

A Funeral Service will be held Friday, February 21, 2020 at 10:00 am, at Hood Mortuary Chapel. Burial will occur at Memory Gardens, Farmington, NM, following services at 2:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to: Veteran's Outreach Center, 72 Suttle St. Suite I, Durango, CO 81303.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Durango Herald on Feb. 19, 2020.
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9 entries
April 3, 2020
I'm not the best at putting how I feel into just the right words to convey exactly what I'm feeling. Many times that comes in the form of lots of hugs. But when I read what others wrote about Charlie, I knew it had all been said so very well.
Charlie and Mary did so much for my Dad, and in turn for our family in so many ways. Charlie was sent to be Dad's guardian angel and became a very dear friend. Our loss is definitely heaven's gain!
Much love and many hugs,
Denise Freemyer Smyth
March 1, 2020
Colonel Parnell, your service to you your country was appreciated beyond words, sir. Past your official military duty service dates, you gifted your community and "your" veterans with more assistance and care than a battalion could accomplish in a lifetime altogether, fine sir. Your watch over veterans and your efforts to help them secure their due benefits, is measured in boundless success - and healing - of hundreds of better lives. The wave of those good deeds done for these veterans continues on, and flows through the hearts, minds and the very spirits of their families, their friends and their communities. Your calling to "serve" your country was met beyond your possible comprehension at first thought, I know. Your family, friends, community - and your veterans - will remember you with the very finest regard of character, the most honorable intentions for showing how the human spirit can achieve amazing things, and to forge ahead with dignity at all times to address all matters.

There will never be another man of your mold. Rest, Colonel, knowing your work was done beyond greatness and "your troops" will carry on your legacy in countless good deeds for others in need.

Thank you for helping my uncle Rod. Thank you for enhancing the work of my mother, a VA social worker. Thank you for your kindness and your passion to make the world so much better for our veterans. Our family is so grateful to you.
Heather Thrall Roscoe
February 25, 2020
Ralph Gibbons
February 25, 2020
Charlie was kind and smiling. He lifted my heart in a time of sadness that we shared. I hold his family in my heart. Thank you for sharing him with so many.
Ann Perkins-Parrott
February 21, 2020
What an amazing man. He will be very very missed . So sorry to see you go. Who will do all you did Charlie. There can never be someone who did so much for so many people including my family. I will miss you so much . RIP my friend. Condolences to his family cant say enough about Charlie.
Sam Bainter
February 20, 2020
Charlie could put a smile on just about anyone's face. I worked at the VA Clinic for awhile, and Charlie was a regular who would help other Veterans, ask if we knew anyone who needed help, (with gas, with food, with electricity, with a ride, just about anything.). He was someone that the Veterans could count on if they needed help. It seemed to be a calling for him, and his smile and sweet soul will be missed. He touched a lot of hearts. Mine was one of them. Rest In Peace Charlie.
Kristy Rodri
February 20, 2020
I met Charlie several years ago when I was working for the VA clinic in Durango. He put such a big smile in all those he was around... he will be greatly missed by his Veteran community. Thank you so very much for all you have done. RIP Charlie.
February 20, 2020
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February 19, 2020
As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.
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