Dr. Brenda Hickman Parnell


It is with great sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of Dr. Brenda Hickman Parnell, a cherished pillar of the Fairhope, Alabama community, on Mar. 11, 2024. Born on Jun. 12, 1941, in Reform, Alabama, to Clark and Helen Harcrow Hickman. Brenda's life was a testament to her enduring spirit, intellect, and compassion.

Brenda's journey was marked by a series of distinguished achievements and roles that mirrored her passion for education and the arts. From her early days as a majorette at Pickens County High School to shining as a Dixie Darling at The University of Southern Mississippi, her zest for life and learning was evident. Brenda furthered her education at Springhill College, where she earned a BS in Mathematics Education, followed by a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of South Alabama. Her academic pursuits culminated in a PhD in Math Education from Auburn University, setting the stage for her impactful career.

Before marrying her beloved husband of 36 years, Jim Parnell, Brenda was preceded in death by her first husband, Michael DuMon. Her legacy includes not just her professional achievements but also her profound impact as an accomplished artist. Brenda's colorful artwork, celebrated and displayed at the Eastern Shore Arts Center, earned her several awards, showcasing her creativity and dedication to the arts.

Brenda's passion for education was unparalleled. As a beloved math teacher at Central Baptist, UMS, the University of South Alabama and Springhill College in Mobile, and later with the West Virginia Department of Education as Mathematics Coordinator, she touched the lives of countless students and educators. Her commitment to nurturing minds and hearts extended beyond her professional life into her role as a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and friend.

She leaves behind a loving family, including her husband, Jimmy Parnell; children, Rodney Dutton (Vicki), Chad Dutton (Lisa), and Michele Hand; stepchildren, Lisa Parnell Davis (JJ), Lori Parnell Mallard (Patrick), and Linda Parnell Rollins (Hal); grandchildren Tyler Dutton (Allyson), Emily Dutton Fleming (RJ), Michael Meadows, Patrick Hand, Matthew Hand, Sam Dutton, Mason Dutton, Rachael Herbert (Alex), Jacob Rollins, Lif Mallard, Plez Mallard, and Lindsey Davis; six greatgrandchildren (and two on the way); and many other friends and extended family members.

Brenda's legacy is a beacon of love, resilience, and inspiration. As we mourn her passing, we also celebrate our beautiful memories and all the countless ways she enriched our lives. Her magnificent spirit will forever remain in our hearts.

A service to celebrate Brenda's life was held on Fri., Mar. 15, 2024, at 3Circle Church in Fairhope, Alabama. Honorary pallbearers were her six beloved grandson’s Tyler Dutton, Michael Meadows, Patrick Hand, Matthew Hand, Sam Dutton, and Mason Dutton.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Eastern Shore Arts Center, 401 Oak Avenue, Fairhope, Alabama, 36532, in memory of Brenda Parnell, to honor her passion for the arts and education. Farewell, dear Brenda. You may have left this world, but your light will continue to shine in all of us forever. Go rest high on that mountain and we will see you soon. Roll Tide!

Expressions of condolences for the family may be made at www.hughesfh.com. Hughes Funeral Home, 26209 Pollard Road, Daphne, AL, is assisting the family.