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Adair County's Parnell family has visited all 50 states together

This year, the family traveling reunion was centered around Gatlinburg. Most of the children of the late Emmitt and Mattie Hill Parnell take the trips every year. But one brother, Harmon Parnell stays put in Sparksville, KY, where he says he has the prettiest scenery on earth. The rest are enthusiastic travelers
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By Ed and Linda Waggener

Most of the Parnell siblings who live between Sparksville in Adair County and Indianapolis, IN, spent the week in Tennessee enjoying fellowship together while seeing the sights, a different one each day. On this journey were brothers Allan Mercer, James Willard, Jesse and Lewis, their sister, Del Westerfield, and sister-in-law Eileen Parnell. Two of the brothers, Harmon and Stanley, didn't travel on this trip.

Headquartered in Gatlinburg, they toured popular tourist highlights downtown, includinng Ober Gatlinburg, Dollywood and the Stampede, and took side trips to nearby Asheville and the Biltmore Mansion.

All except James rode the tram up and down the mountain.

Allan said he asked his brother why, if he could go through combat in the Korean War, could he not ride up the side of the mountain. He said James responded, "because the war was all fought on the ground."

The group spent one of their days touring Dollywood together and seeing one of the shows there.

Another day they made the trip from Gatlinburg for a tour of the historic Biltmore in Ashville, NC, and said they enjoyed discovery of every room in America's largest house.

They are a busy group. All still stay involved in their chosen life work and ignore the idea of full retirement. The children of Emmitt and Mattie Hill Parnell, they all began their education at Wilson School on the Sparkesville-Weed Road in southern Adair County. They say their parents were hard workers and instilled in all of them a strong work ethic.
- Stanley Parnell, a WWII Veteran, is 92 and lives in Elizabethtown.

- Jesse Parnell, 90, is a World War II Veteran and lives in Indianapolis.

- Del Parnell Westerfield, 89, Indianapolis, retired from Methodist Hospital. She continues to work part time at an auctin house and said she didn't know if she could make this trip this year because she was needed at work.

- James Willard Parnell, 88, is a Korean War Veteran and retired from General Electric.

- Harmon Parnell, 84, is a Veteran of the Korean War and he and his wife Nancy live in Sparksville.

- Allan Mercer Parnell, 81, would have graduated with the first graduating class of Adair County High School in 1954, but instead went to Louisville and graduated from Ahrens Trade School, then worked at GE until he was inspired to start up Mister "P" Express trucking in Jeffersonville, IN.

- Lewis Parnell, 78, worked in construction and he and his wife Eileen have stayed faithful to the family roots, maintaining their home Sparksville. He's still active working in construction, and maintains a lawn mower repair shop.
On their annual family trips they have now been to every state in the union. Now they are focusing on single sites, like a trip to the Branson, MO area, or to a national park like Grand Canyon.

This story was posted on 2016-10-09 09:52:34
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Parnells in Gatlinburg, TN on 2016 family trip

2016-10-09 - Park Vista, Gatlinburg, TN - Photo by Ed Waggener, (c).
The Children of Emmitt & Mattie Hill Parnell take annual trips each year. This year the family outing was centered around Gatlinburg, TN. Above, from left, are James Willard Parnell, 88, a Korean War Vet, who is retired from General Electric in Louisville, KY. Next is Del Parnell Westerfield, 89, Indianapolis, who is retired from Methodist Hospital there and still works two days a week as a clerk at an auction company. Jesse Parnell, 90, retired after a career as a Kroger Warehouse Supervisor in Indianapolis; he's a World War II veteran. Next is Lewis Parnell, 78, Sparksville, KY, with his wife Eileen Parnell; Lewis Parnell has been in the timber industry and retired after a long career in the construction business. And the trip host, brother Allan Parnell, 81. All have fond memories of attending Wilson School, which still stands on the Sparksville-Weed Road and even remember going barefoot to school in the warm days of summer and fall.

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Wilson School, adaptively re-used. Lives on as home

2016-10-18 - Weed-Sparksville Road, Columbia, KY - Photo by Ed Waggener, (c).
Fabled Wilson School, which has so many illustrious graduates including the Parnell Family and the late Jeff Scott, is still standing. It is the home of Adair County Elementary School student Drake Sneed and his mother, who have occupied the place for four years. When Drake moved here, his mother, standing in the doorway and barely visible, said, "He was so excited. Living in a school, I'll have to be smart." She said that Drake is having the best year of his school career, as a third grader at ACES. He really likes it there. At right is the self-appointed Wilson School security force, "Moe," a next door neighbor who keeps the wrong sort away. Clicking Read More Accesses "Adair County's Parnell family has visited all 50 states together

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