James  Jennings, Sr.

James Parnick Jennings, Sr. passed away Sunday, June 27, 2021, at his residence surrounded by his loved ones following a lengthy illness. Parnick was born on June 4, 1930, in Etowah, Tennessee to J. W. and Gladys (Smith) Jennings. The family moved to Rome in December of 1930 when J.W. opened Jennings Funeral Home. Parnick was a member of the Darlington School class of 1947 and received his BS in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee in 1951 with a major in journalism. He served as the Sports Editor of The Orange and White newspaper in his junior and senior years of college and was a faithful Vol For Life, never giving up on his beloved Volunteers no matter how bleak the season (frequently) looked. He loved nothing more than to take friends and family to Neyland Stadium on Saturdays in the Fall to cheer on the Big Orange. His grandchildren are proof of his loyalty as they all knew the words to "Rocky Top" from birth; he sang it to them early and often. Parnick was proud to have served his country as a 1st Lieutenant in the US Army Transportation Corp during the Korean War from September 1951 to September of 1953. After his time in the service, he went on to receive his Master Mortician Degree from Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science in 1955. He became licensed as a Georgia Funeral Director in 1950 and an Embalmer in 1955. He served as the assistant manager of Jennings Funeral Home from 1955-1960, manager from 1960-1972, vice-president and co-owner from 1972-1977, and owner & president from 1977-1988. He oversaw the growth of the business to a second and third location in West Rome and Cartersville in 1977. He sold the firm in 1988 and remained a consultant with the business until 2007 when he returned to ownership with the opening of Parnick Jennings,Sr.'s Good Shepherd Funeral Home in Rome. Prior to his passing, Parnick was acknowledged as the oldest licensed funeral director in Georgia who still owned his own business. A faithful Christ-follower, Parnick lived out a life of Christian service in many ways: on the Shorter University Board of trustees from 1963-1968 and from 2007-2015, as past director of the Floyd County Baptist Associational Brotherhood, as a founder of Carpenters for Christ in 1981, as a member Floyd County Baptist Executive Committee, as a member of the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board of Trustees from 1978-1986, and as a Life Member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board, serving twice as board chairman and twice as capital campaign chairman since 1964. His professional associations included past President of the Georgia Funeral Directors Association, past Chairman of the Constitution & By-Laws Committee of the National Funeral Directors Association, and he remained an active member of the Georgia Funeral Directors Association at the time of his passing. Hundreds of Funeral Directors were trained under his tutelage. Parnick's second greatest passion beyond serving families in their time of grief was gospel music. He combined this with his love of broadcasting and hosted a two-hour Sunday morning program of gospel music, Hymns of the Christian Faith, on WRGA-Rome from 1958-2002; he also hosted a one hour weekly TV program of gospel music, Gospel Music Homestyle, from 1996-2008, and for many years hosted gospel music concerts at the Rome City Auditorium. He cherished the many friendships he formed through this work and as a part of the Southern Gospel Music Association and the Southern Gospel Promoters Association. He was a recipient of the 2010 Hugh Burnes Christian Service Leadership Award and was a member of the Sgt. Billy Freeman Post 55 Korean Veterans Association, the Shanklin-Attaway Post 5 of the American Legion, and the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce. Parnick was preceded in death by his beloved daughters, Kathy Sue Jennings (who died in infancy) and Jan Jennings Musick. Parnick is survived by his sweetheart of over 60 years, his wife and partner in business and life, Margaret Eads Jennings; a son, James Parnick Jennings, Jr. (Tina), Cartersville; son-in-law Clyde Musick, Rome; grandchildren, Tara (Brian) Inman, Rome; Clay (Becky) Kirkland, Titusville, PA; Parnick Spencer Musick, Rome; James Jacob Musick, Rossville; six great-grandchildren: Maggie, Wesley, Davis, and Harrison Inman; Della Ruth and Seth Kirkland. To know Parnick was to be known by Parnick forever. He never forgot a name, a face, or a connection of any kind. One friend described him aptly as "an encyclopedia of people and happenings". His encyclopedic knowledge especially extended to the multiple generations of families he served during his 70 years of service as a funeral director in Georgia. Though in college he imagined he was headed for a career in sports writing or broadcasting, he loved to share the story of his calling, how the Lord spoke to him during his time in the service and plainly told him to follow in his father's footsteps as a mortician. He said he never regretted that decision, as it gave him "an opportunity to render a ministry of comfort and hope to over 20,000 families! To God be the Glory!" The Jennings family would like to offer our deepest gratitude to Tammy, Tiffani, and the entire Care at Home team for the love, care, and kindness they showed Parnick in the last year. Their calm and patient presence allowed us all to make some very special last memories together. Mr. Jennings will lie in state in the chapel of Parnick Jennings,Sr.'s Good Shepherd Funeral Home, with the family receiving friends from 5-8 PM on Tuesday, June 29th and from 11:30 AM-12:30 PM on Wednesday, June 30th. Funeral services will follow the visitation on Wednesday at 1 PM with the Reverend Steve Skates officiating. Interment will be in East View Cemetery with Military Honors conducted by the Shanklin-Attaway Post 5 Honor Guard of the American Legion. Pallbearers include grandsons Spencer Musick and Jacob Musick, son-in-law Clyde Musick, grandson-in-law Brian Inman, nephews Cory Eads and Chris Eads, and brother-in-law Tom Eads. In lieu of flowers, to continue to honor the legacy and memory of his daughter, Jan, and in keeping with Parnick's legacy of love, generosity, and service to others, the family requests that gifts be made in Parnick's memory to Floyd Felines and Friends at P.O. Box 2364, Rome, GA 30164 or online at http://floydfelines.org/donate/ Parnick Jennings, Sr.'s Good Shepherd Funeral Home has charge of arrangements.

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