Brother Tommie L. Pernell was born in Allen April 16, 1929 to Eugene Pernell and Annie Laura Pernell. Tommie became a member of St. Peter Church in Allen at an early age. He joined the armed services as a teenager, serving at the end of World War II in Germany. On return from the war, he continued to serve his country by joining the Army Reserves. While working in Jackson, Miss., where he met Willie Earl McInnis. The couple married Dec. 14, 1947. They were married for 65 years, until Willie Earl passed away.
While in Mississippi, Tommie completed Tyler Beauty College, training as a barber. Shortly after marrying, they moved to Jackson and joined Mount Olive No. 2 Baptist Church in 1951. He served as a trustee for the church, treasurer, young adult men’s Sunday school teacher and a member of the choir. Tommie faithfully served until he became ill and relocated to Birmingham.
Tommie was a businessman. He and Mrs. Pernell owned and ran a café and barber shop when they first moved to Jackson. He ran the barber shop until Mrs. Pernell’s health declined in 2004, at which time he devoted himself to her care. He retired from Boise Cascade, where he had been employed for 25 years. Very civic minded, Tommie served on the Jackson Volunteer police and fire departments. He was active in voter registration and one of the first blacks in the city to push to vote. He sponsored a baseball league for the youth for many years and attempted to inspire and encourage young men. Mr. Tommie was also known for his generosity to many, his vegetable gardens, providing haircuts to many, his dog Midnight, parched peanuts and meeting with his group of friends every morning to have breakfast at Pic and Save.
Preceding him in death were his parents, Eugene Pernell and Annie Laura Pernell; his wife, Willie Earl Pernell; and brothers, Douglas Pernell Sr., Timothy Pernell and James Pernell.
He leaves to cherish his memories, two daughters, Dr. Gwen Pernell of Birmingham and Rose (devoted son-in-law, Eugene) Haynes of Jackson; two brothers, Mack L. (Eloise) Pernell of Jackson and Dr. Eugene (Yvonne) Pernell of East Lansing, Mich.; two grandchildren, Xavier (Yolanda) Haynes of Central Islip, N.Y., and Keenan (Yolanda) Haynes of Palm Bay, Fla.; one like a son and devoted nephew, Douglas Pernell Jr. of Jackson; one like a daughter and devoted niece, Dr. Joycelyn (Walter) Henderson of Milwaukee, Wisc.; one like a daughter, Charlotte (Michael) Moore of Jackson; one devoted cousin, Dorothy Henderson; 10 great-grandchildren, cousins, many nieces and nephews, and many devoted friends.
Public viewing will be Tuesday, April 19, from 1 until 6 p.m., at Jackson Memorial Funeral Home, 203 East Ross St., Jackson. Service will be Wednesday, April 20, 11 a.m., in the chapel of Jackson Memorial Funeral Home. The Rev. Stevenson E. Tullis, pastor of Mt. Olive No. 2 Baptist Church, will be the eulogist. Interment will follow in Mt. Olive Mississippi.
Final life celebration has been entrusted to Jackson Memorial Funeral Home.
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