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Ray Darnell

July 22, 1927 ~ September 27, 2018 (age 91)

On Thursday, September 27, 2018, Alfred Ray Darnell, age 91, of Clarksville, TN, passed away at Alive Hospice in Nashville, Tennessee. 

A lifelong resident of Montgomery County, he was born on July 22, 1927, in Clarksville, TN. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 61 years, Betty Grissom Darnell; his parents, Alfred and Nannie Darnell; and siblings, Charles D. Darnell and Anne Darnell Revell.  

Ray is survived by his daughters, Kay Darnell Drew (Tom) of Clarksville/Ft. Bragg, NC and Lynn Darnell Taylor (Sid) of Nashville; grandchildren, Kaley Drew McCarthy (Keith) of Clarksville, Kate Taylor of Nashville, and Sy Taylor of Nashville; great grandchild, Kathryn Drew McCarthy; sister, Betty Darnell Bozeman; and a score of nieces, nephews, and wonderful friends.

Ray Darnell will long be remembered for his zest for life, his charisma, the twinkle in his eye, his smile, and his confidence.  He was a joy to those around him and his capacity to love was infinite, shaped by so many who knew him.  He loved his wife, daughters, family and friends. He was a member of Madison Street United Methodist Church where he served until his death as an usher and greeter each Sunday for close to 40 years.  Ray treasured time spent each week as a member of the Willard Blue Sunday School class. In addition, he was a businessman who enjoyed raising cattle and farming, a passionate outdoorsman, golfer, and football fan. 

Ray’s commitment to his community was shown through his service for nine years as a Magistrate for Montgomery County.  He was a founding Trustee for Clarksville Academy, a longtime supporter of APSU athletics, and a charter member of the Tennessee Volunteer Senior Golfers Association, of which he remained an active participant until his death.  

Ray was also a founding member of the Clarksville Pointer and Setter Club and the Clarksville Bird Dog Club.  He participated as not only a competitor in nationally recognized field trials, but also served in the roles of judge, marshal, dog wagon driver, and most important to Ray, as a mentor to both amateur and professional dog handlers.  He was a long time supporter of the Tennessee Walking Horse Association and in addition to attending many horse shows, also presided as ringmaster for local and regional shows. 

He graduated from Clarksville High School in 1945 and Austin Peay State University in 1951, playing football in high school and was a 4-year letterman in college.  He also served in the U. S. Army. 

A Celebration of Life Service will be held Monday, October 1, at 11:00 AM at Madison Street United Methodist Church, with Rev. Harriet Bryan, Rev. Cliff Wright, and Rev. Laurie Hynson officiating.  Visitation will be at the church on Monday, October 1, from 9:30 AM until the hour of service. Burial will follow at Greenwood Cemetery.

Pallbearers will be Chuck Cates, Tom Denney, John Kinney, John Martin, Charlie Bill Persinger, Calvin Stokes, and Ben Stone. Honorary pallbearers will be the members of the Willard Blue Sunday School Class. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to APSU Foundation (ATTN: Ray Darnell Memorial Football Scholarship), P.O. Box 4417, Clarksville, TN 37044 or the Willard Blue Sunday School Fund in memory of Ray Darnell at Madison Street United Methodist Church, 319 Madison Street, Clarksville, TN 37040.

Arrangements are entrusted to Neal-Tarpley-Parchman Funeral Home, 1510 Madison Street, Clarksville, TN 37040; (931) 645-6488. Online condolences may be made at www.nealtarpleyparchman.com.

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