Frank James Pannell
Published: Thursday, June 06, 2013

Frank James Pannell, 90, passed away in Newport, TN where he had lived since 2010 on June 2, 2013.

He was born on November 27, 1922, in Potts Camp, Union County, Mississippi to Adolphus Pannell and Hester Manning Pannell.

James lived a long and colorful life. Raised in rural Tippah and Union counties in Mississippi, he left home as a teenager in search of adventure.  He traveled as a vagabond, joining a circus and eventually making his way to Perry, FL where he worked as a deep sea diver for sponges. 

Making his way back to Tippah County, he met Almeda Sartain.  He swept her off her feet and they were married on October 4, 1941.  They settled in to raise a family but times were hard and they moved to Memphis after the birth of their first son. 

In Memphis, James worked various occupations including truck driver, mechanic, and did whatever it took to support his family. 

Duty soon called him to service as World War II was in full swing.  He served in WWII with most of his duty assigned to the effort to recapture the Philippines from the Japanese. In 1945 he served in the Battle of Luzon, code named S-Day, one of the major battles in the Pacific.  He received a Bronze Star and a Philippines Liberation Medal for his service in that battle. 

At the end of the war he returned home to Memphis. Soon after his return James reenlisted in the Army and served at various locations including duty stations at Ft. Hood, Texas, Ft. Knox, KY, Mannheim, Germany, Tehran, Iran, and Ft. Wainwright, AK. He retired from the Army in 1966 as a Master Sergeant and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal.

After retirement he settled in Hamilton, MS and continued his trade as a mechanic working many years at the Chevrolet Dealership in Aberdeen MS. In 1983 he went in search for his childhood sweetheart Sarah Flake. After locating her he courted her and eventually the pair moved to Texarkana, Texas in 1984, then Atlanta, Texas in 1989. They traveled extensively throughout their many years together.

He worked at Adams Automotive of Texarkana, Arkansas until his retirement.  He was known for his expertise in repair work and had many faithful customers.  Throughout the years he had many hobbies including fishing, hunting, camping, skiing, and gardening. He was an avid pinochle and cribbage player in his earlier years, but for the last 30 years cooking became his passion. He frequently cooked pies and cakes and meals for the hospital staff where his daughter Carol worked, as well as for shut-ins and the elderly.

James was preceded in death by his wife, Sarah Flake Frasure Pannell, his former wife Mattie Almeda Sartain Pannell, one daughter, Gloria Pannell Bowen, sons-in-law Sheldon (Tim) Bowen, Danny (Red) Hambers, Milton Manley and Burt Ward.

He is survived by 13 children: Kenneth Pannell (Sandi) of Wenatchee, WA, Patsy Pannell Bowen of Hamilton, MS, Richard Pannell (Judy) of Alamagardo, NM, Pamela Pannell McNatt (Steve) of Nesbit, MS,  Daniel Pannell (Penny) of Humboldt, TN, David Pannell(Trish) of Horn Lake, MS, Jamie Pannell Beckwith (Mick) of Liberty Lake, WA, Mary Ann Pannell Neidl(Michael) of Old Hickory, TN,  Marilyn Manley of Palestine, Arkansas, John Howell of Palestine, Arkansas, Lee Ward (Bobby) of West Memphis, AR,  Jane Simmons of West Memphis, AR, and Carol R. Brashears of Newport, TN. Survivors also include sons-in-law Michael Gentry, Todd Brashears, and Scott Simmons. He is also survived by his sister Faye Pickens of Pontotoc, MS and by 28 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, and 6 great-great- grandchildren. 

He will be laid to rest at 10:00 a.m., Friday, June 7, 2013, at Laws Chapel Cemetery in Atlanta, Texas next to his beloved Sarah, under the direction of Hanner Funeral Service, with full military rites.

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