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Christine "Chris" Parker Pursell Passed Away on March 1, 2016

04 Mar 2016 12:43 PM | Karen Summers (Administrator)

Mar. 5, 1934 - Mar. 1, 2016 Christine Parker Pursell March 5, 1934 - March 1, 2016 Mrs. Christine "Chris" Parker Pursell, beloved wife of Mr. James "Jimmy" Taylor Pursell, passed away to heaven on the afternoon of March 1, 2016, just 4 days from her 82nd birthday. 

Chris was born on March 5, 1934, to former mayor and Parker Fertilizer Company owner, Mr. Howard Arrington Parker, and to Mrs. Ola David Parker. She had one older sister, Julia Parker Oliver (July 7, 1929-July 10, 2014) and one younger brother, Howard Arrington Parker, Jr. (March 3, 1941-March 26, 1966). Chris was introduced to her future husband, Jimmy Pursell, by none other than Mr. Jim Nabors, a longtime local family friend who was made famous through his portrayal of the character Gomer Pyle in the Andy Griffith Show. After a few years of long-distance dating, with Jimmy in the Air Force and Chris off at Mary Baldwin College in Virginia, they were married on July 10th, 1953, at the Mather Air Force Base in Sacramento, California, just 17 days before the armistice was signed marking the end of the Korean War. 

Chris and Jimmy returned home to Sylacauga in 1956 with their young son, James "Taylor" Pursell II, just in time for the birth of their daughter, "Chris" (now Fleming). Jimmy joined Chris' father at Parker Fertilizer Company to sell their newest lawn and garden product, Sta-Green. Their youngest son, David Howard, was born in 1959.

"Behind every great man is a great woman" is truly the statement to be said for Chris, as all of her husband Jimmy's successes are one and the same with hers. Together, they pioneered Christian leadership in business through being charter members of the Fellowship of Companies for Christ International, serving alongside the former Truett Cathy of Chick-Fil-A. Together they also helped form the Auburn University Center for Ethical Organizational Cultures. Chris and Jimmy's legacy is marked ultimately by generous stewardship, giving out of the abundance of their resources to people and organizations in need, both locally and abroad. In 2012, Auburn University's College of Human Sciences presented Chris and her husband with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Auburn acknowledged them by saying, "Success is measured by embodying the values of hard work, education, love of country, obedience to law, and soundness of mind, body, and spirit...Jimmy and Chris Pursell, as individuals and as a couple, are the gold standard for what it means to live the exemplary life." 

Chris's memory is joyfully survived by the following: Her husband of 62 years, Jimmy; her son, Taylor and his wife, Lydia; her daughter, Chris, and her husband, Aaron Fleming; her son, David, and his wife, Ellen. Her grandchildren: Taylor's children: Jamie and his wife, Haley; Sarah; Donna Jeanne; and Saylors. David and Ellen's children: Peggy and her husband, Garry; Vaughan and her husband, Tim; Chrissy and her husband, Alex; Ramsey and her husband, Andrew; Martin; Parker and his wife, Lauren. And finally, her great-grandchildren: Adison and Charlotte (Sarah), Margo, Gabe, and Camille (Vaughan and Tim), Evie (Jamie and Haley), and Landon and William (Donna Jeanne) (plus all friends and extended family which are too many to list). She had requested a family-only burial service, with no formal visitation beforehand. The family will honor this request on Friday morning, having a grave-side service and celebration at the family cemetery in Fayetteville. In lieu of flowers, before she passed, Chris requested that donations be made to Coosa Valley Resources for Women, the Fayetteville School Foundation, Knollwood Christian School, and Vapor International. Psalm 27:4 "One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple." Memorial messages may be sent to the family at Radney-Smith Funeral Home in Sylacauga, AL will direct the services.

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