Skip to content

Obituary - Dixie Parnell



Dixie Inez Johnson Parnell, 97, of Newbern, died Wednesday, April 2, 2008 at her residence. She was a homemaker, a two-time world champion of the Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration held in Shelbyville, and inducted into the Tennessee Walking Horse Hall of Fame along with her husband, James Franklin Parnell, in 1981. They were the first non-professionals and the first couple to be inducted, and she was the third woman to be inducted in the Hall of Fame.

Services were held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Newbern Cumber-land Presbyterian Church, where she was a member, with the Rev. George Butler officiating. Burial was held at the Fairview Cemetery in Newbern.

Survivors include a daughter, Treva Speight of Newbern; two grandchildren, Brad Franklin Speight of Seaside, Fla., and Jeff Franklin Speight of Jackson; and two great-grandchildren, Max Franklin Speight and Anna Marie Speight, both of Jackson.

She was preceded in death by her husband, James Franklin Parnell; a son, Jerry Johnson Parnell; a son-in-law, Frank Speight; her parents, Sharp and Alma Troy Johnson; two sisters, Connie Ray and Arly Hays; and two brothers, Herbert Johnson and Ted Johnson.

Pallbearers were Julian Johnson, Bennett Hays, Ted Johnson, Kevin Hill, Jay Johnson, Johnny Johnson, Matt Johnson, Adam Johnson, Jerry Mangrum and John Gordon Rudolph.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any memorials be directed to the Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases, 445 South Figuroa St., Suite 3400, Los Angeles, CA 90071-1438; or Newbern Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 310 East Main St., Newbern, TN 30859.

More Stories