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Arnold William Parnell


1936 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Arnold William Parnell Obituary
January 21, 1936 - January 10, 2018 Arnold William Parnell, age 81, passed away peacefully in Los Angeles, CA. He was born in Philadelphia, PA, to Jesse and Eva Parnell. He grew up in Philly with his brother Gordon Parnell (who preceded him in death). Arnold graduated from West Catholic Boys High School and received a full scholarship to Villanova University in PA, where he received his BA in Chemical Engineering. He met and fell in love with Thelma Steward and soon they were married. They moved to CA and began their lifelong devotion welcoming three children, Steven, Paula and Michael. Arnold attended UCLA, and later transferred to USC to complete his MS in Chemical Engineering. All this, while working in the aerospace industry, first at North American Aviation, then Rocketdyne and later at TRW. He was a devoted husband and father who frequently flew back to PA, to visit both his and Thelma's huge extended family of relatives and friends. "Arnie," as many knew him, was amongst the first African Americans teamed with many engineers who worked on the engines propulsion system during the Apollo 13 Mission. Following his early retirement from TRW, Arnold was an entrepreneur who pursued many business ventures. He was full of adventure and he had a huge heart to help others. Despite having Parkinson's disease, "Arnie" enjoyed bowling in a league with family and friends; won trophies playing poker; had a sweet tooth; celebrated holidays and special occasions; and had a great sense of humor. He was a member of St. Paul's Catholic Church. Arnold is survived by his wife, Thelma Parnell, his three children; three grandsons, Marque, John and James; his two nieces, Tracey Austin (Parnell) and Teresa Byers (Parnell); his aunt Patricia Gibson, and his lifelong family best friend Frank Campagna. He also leaves behind an abundance of East and West Coast family. Lastly, but never forgotten, he leaves behind his business family and associates. Future Celebration of Life TBA email: [email protected]
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Jan. 25, 2018
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