Cover photo for Donna McNeill Parnell's Obituary
Donna McNeill Parnell Profile Photo
1959 Donna 2023

Donna McNeill Parnell

June 1, 1959 — July 26, 2023

Hope Mills, NC


Donna McNeill Parnell, 64, of Hope Mills passed away July 26, 2023.

Born in Cumberland County, she is the daughter of the late Clifton McNeill, Sr. and Vivian Cain McNeill.  She was also preceded in death by her husband, Dennis Michael Parnell and her father & mother-in-law, Dennis Alfred & Dorothy Parnell.

She is survived by her daughter, Laura Boarts & husband Matthew: grandson, Jonah Boarts; sister, Kathy deRoeck & husband Dan; brother, Clifton McNeill, Jr. & wife Barbara; step daughter, Chelsea Ellis & husband Terin; step son, Matthew Parnell; aunt, Carolyn McNeill; uncle, Rick Cain.

Donna graduated from South View High School in 1977, and began studies at Campbell University that fall. She graduated in December of 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in music. She also earned a graduate degree in Music Education from East Carolina University, and a Master’s in School Administration from Fayetteville State University through the North Carolina Principal’s Fellows Program. Donna taught chorus at a number of Cumberland County Schools before going into administration. She first served as an assistant principal at Max Abbott Middle School. She later became principal at Seabrook Elementary School where she served until her retirement in 2017

She was an educator, inside and outside of the school system. Donna taught Sunday school and GA’s at church, piano and singing lessons, and was even known to reorganize and relocate drawers in her family’s kitchen to “keep them learning” and “building dendrites.” She constantly wanted to learn something new and help others to learn to love learning. Her passion for education was evident to all who knew her, was taught by her, or worked with her in the school system.

 Donna had a life-long love of music, and had a beautiful contralto voice. She sang at every opportunity, beginning as a child with her captive audience at home, and singing in church and in her various schools. She was involved in musical theater, traveling choral groups, the LOST COLONY in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, along with many other musical endeavors. She directed choirs and played the piano in different churches in the area. She passed on her love of music to her daughter, Laura, exposing her to any and every genre of music she could think of. She loved to dance, attend concerts, read good books, and work on puzzles. She loved going to the beach, gardenias, good food with good company, and her family, especially her grandson, Jonah.

 She will be missed tremendously by all who knew her.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donna McNeill Parnell, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, July 29, 2023

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

Pinecrest Funeral & Cremation Services

4721 Dunrobin Dr, Hope Mills, NC 28348

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Sunday, July 30, 2023

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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