Home Local News Parnells lay Richmond County mortuary career to rest

Parnells lay Richmond County mortuary career to rest

Ed and Cheryl Parnell retired this week as owners of Harrington Funeral Home in Hamlet after nearly 50 years in the business. Contributed photo

HAMLET — Ed and Cheryl Parnell of Harrington Funeral Home have been serving families in Virginia, Richmond County and the surrounding areas for over 48 years and have now decided it’s time to transition into retirement.

“I came out of a big firm in Virgina,” said Ed Parnell. “We did 600 calls a year, every year. When I first came down here, I was doing between 60 and 70 calls a year. “While I was doing that, I was working at Mark’s Funeral Home full time and I was embalming here (at Harrington’s) and also in Laurinburg at Butler’s Funeral Home.”

Ed and his wife of 23 years, Cheryl, have been working together since they got married.

“I came to work with Ed just two months after we got married,” said Cheryl Parnell. “I previously had worked for Dr. Al and Dr. Don Covington at Carolina Eye Associates and I would probably still be there today had I not married Ed. God gave me a gift when he gave me Ed and I saw that he needed help at the funeral home and we’ve worked together side by side every day since.”

So, where does the compassion come from to do such a job every day?

“I think it was inbred into Ed,” said Cheryl Parnell. “The first time I watched him with someone, I had never seen anyone with so much compassion. It’s a sacred thing more than anything.”

Ed Parnell feels that being able to take care of the whole family is important.

Ed Parnell holds up a T-shirt on the day of his retirement. Photo by Christopher McDonald.

“It’s the last thing I can do for you or your family,” he said. Cheryl Parnell continues, “With Ed’s father passing when he was seven years old and being the only son and having to help raise his four younger sisters made a big impression on him and convinced him that he wanted to do something for someone.”

The funeral home is being turned over to Darin Dixon, who will serve as president, owner and funeral director.

Both Parnells say that they are looking forward to the future.

“We live at Lake Tilery,” said Cheryl Parnell, “and we plan to enjoy one another outside of work. We’ve worked together side by side for 23 years. We plan to spend time with our family and children. Also, we are going to Ireland at the End of May. Ed is second-generation Irish and we’ve always wanted to go, so we’re going.”

The Parnells are grateful to the people in the community and the surrounding areas for 48 years of cherished memories.


“We can’t thank the people of Richmond County and the surrounding areas enough for their support,” said Cheryl. “It’s been wonderful, we’ve made a lot of friends. We’ve seen a lot of sadness. But we are grateful to everyone. Thank you from the both of us and God bless.”

“Love ‘em while they are alive. Don’t send me flowers after I die, if you’re going to send me flowers, send them prior to me going.” – Edward Parnell Jr.

NOTE: This story has been updated to make a slight clarification. 7:48 p.m. 3-1-23

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