Mother Naomi Elizabeth Pannell

PannellNaomi photo


THE EARLY DAYS: I was born of a kind heart, Naomi Elizabeth Robinson, on a lovely fall day, November 1, 1934, in Norfolk, West Virginia, to my loving parents, Jesse King and Susie Ann Elizabeth Robinson. I am the third of thirteen children and was named by my grandfather, John Robinson. He pronounced, “We have a Paul, we have a Ruth. Now I name you Naomi.” And so, my life commenced in the fear and admonition of the Lord. My father affectionately referred to me as his “million-dollar baby in a five and ten cent store. My family was large and beautiful and meant the world to me.

My siblings and I learned great work ethics early on. We lived on a farm in the mountains of West Virginia where we raised chickens and pigs. We grew our food and made our own butter. As far as studies are concerned, I was an excellent student who had an ardent appreciation for learning. My scholastic achievements were guided by Elkridge Elementary, Norfolk Jr. High and Elkhorn Senior High School. I graduated in 1952. As a child, I was sensitive to the Holy Spirit and at the age of 12, on July 14, 1946, I was baptized in the name of Jesus and received the precious gift of the Holy Ghost. This was the best thing that would ever happen to me. While a child, I attended the Little Rock Church of Christ where Bishop Posey Diamond Smith was my pastor. We didn’t have to travel far to go to service.  You see, the church was attached to our house on the mountain. Seeing that God had a plan for my life, He blessed me to be appointed secretary of the Sunday School at the young age of 13, appointed secretary of the Pastor’s Aide, member of the Busy Bee Club, Young People’s Prayer Band and the Gospel Choir. I loved church!

MY FAMILY LIFE: At the age of 17, upon graduation from high school in 1952, I married the love of my life, the kind- hearted Joseph Pannell, who had relocated to Columbus, Ohio. We made our heart commitment during his two- week army leave before he was deployed to fight in the Korean War. During my husband’s war timetable, I was employed at a gas station/confectionary shop. Subsequently, I relocated to Columbus, Ohio in May, 1954. My love for learning never ceased and upon relocation, I enrolled in the Central Night School Program where I studied refresher courses in business, typing and shorthand. This training enabled me to later become gainfully employed as a recording stenographer. I had the blessed privilege of giving birth to my heartbeats. Our beautiful seven daughters were the love of our lives. Further, in 1975, my husband and I were blessed to add our 4-year-old nephew to the family as our son. Who would have thought? From the two of us, to date, the Pannell Tribe numbers 92.

MY CHURCH SERVITUDE: Faithfully, in 1954, I began to serve at Rehoboth Temple Church of Christ, 1120 East Long Street, under the pastorship of Bishop H.J. Spencer. Under assignment, I had the auspicious pleasure of serving as secretary of the Sunday School, served in the Go-Forth Club, Gospel Choir, A.B.Y.P.U., Baptismal Committee, Drama Department and the Kitchen Committee where I was known for my delectable cakes and pies. I was honored to assist with the COOLJC National and State Registration Committees, additionally, State Program Committees. God gifted me with a love and dexterity for fine arts early in my life. This passion as an artisan carried over into my adult and church life. I performed in many productions including the well-known “Unwashed Hands” and “Mary of Bethany.” Consequently, God blessed me to become a well sought- after coordinator and play director throughout the city. I was instrumental in the production and initiation of pantomimes and plays in the church arena. Later, with grace and guidance, my heavenly Father helped me pave the uncharted path for art and drama to be utilized and commenced within the scope of His reverence. God blessed it to be an additional utility toward expressive and Christ-centered worship.

In 1958, with the permission of Bishop Spencer, I began the infamous Templeaire Choir to help introduce a more contemporary sound of worship in service. The choir developed a remarkable sound as we studied and were directed under the works of the great Maestro, Clinton Utterbach.

After 24 years of servant assignment at Rehoboth Temple Church, I joined my husband as co-founder to birth a ministry on Columbus’ south side, Little Rock Church of Christ. The task loomed large, but I enjoyed every minute of every challenge. I loved the ministry with all my heart. God remained faithful and as First Lady, trusted me with the position of church administrator (over 20 years), Missionary President, Vacation Bible School Director, Christmas Committee and head of Christmas productions, Kitchen Committee, M.D.W.G. Sunday School Teacher (Jr./Int. classes), started and developed the Gospel Choir, introduced an even higher level of fine arts into worship. My husband and I also pastored New Bethel in Gary West Virginia for over 17 years. Anything that I have procured in this lifetime, is but a consequence to God’s glory.

COMMUNITY: Throughout the years, it was a pleasure to serve in community outreach programs by providing food, clothing, and the like, to the disadvantaged. Moreover, I had the honor of teaching, helping, and impacting the lives of children at the Sonshine Christian Academy as a para-educator. They affectionately called me ‘Mom’…

My Departure: I took flight and joined family members on Thursday, January 13, 2022, at 1:17 p.m. and now celebrate with them in glory. I am rejoicing with my beloved husband and best friend, Bishop Joseph Pannell and our “Beautiful Savior”. I am enjoying my rest with Parents: Deacon Jesse and Mother Susie Robinson, Brothers: Paul, Nathaniel, Jesse, Jr., James, Russell, John David, Sisters: Rose, Ruth, Synetha (William).

And to those I leave behind to rejoice my victory along with me, my most treasured possessions, my heartbeats: Deborah, Linda, Constance (Blair), Andrea (Ernest), Jodi, Tanez (Christopher), Nichole and my son/nephew, Curtis (Precious), additionally, 27+ (13) Grandchildren, 40 Great Grandchildren, Sisters: Rachel Bozeman, Laura Gay, Brenda Smith, Sisters in Love: Lilly Robinson, Helen Robinson, God children: Monique McFarland, Synedra Pass, Special Friend: Virginia Brown, and a huge host of loving nieces, nephews, relatives and friends…”I love you more and I’ll see you again real soon!”

*Donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association in memory of Naomi Pannell by visiting

Mother Pannell will Lie in State at 9:00am until Home Going Celebration starting at 10:00am Saturday, January 29, 2022 at Rehoboth Temple Church of Christ, 1111 E Long Street. Mask and Social Distancing are required. Interment at Franklin Hills Memory Gardens. Ministry of Comfort entrusted to MARLAN J. GARY FUNERAL HOME, THE CHAPEL OF PEACE EAST, 5456 E. Livingston Ave.


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Condolence Messages

  1. I was blessed to be able to know Mother Pannell from a young girl too an a adult we met at Rehoboth and when Uncle Joe And Aunt Naomi Branch off Little Rock I followed them She was and always will be a classy first lady a strong woman of God she is going to be missed a lot of people my condolences to the family Heaven has got another

  2. Katrina Jackson

    Her smile and kiss on cheek was the ultimate encouragement to continue in the Lord. No matter where she was in the sanctuary, I would find her just to be touched by her and see her holy ghost smile! She called me beautiful, and she was so kind and encouraging to me!

  3. Sylvia (Cookie) Robinson Maditsi

    I send my sincere condolences , to the family! Aunt Naomi was reason for my success in my life. She encouraged my strong will to stay on the course. I have never truly let her know that if not for her I would not have accomplished my endeavors. It is said , many times we wait to give our flowers. My last encounter with my auntie Naomi, was moment of our lifetime. I love and honor you as the Queen, you have always been, Aunt Naomi R. I. H!!!

  4. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

    May the support of family and friends be a source of strength and the God of comfort a refuge in your time of need. Truly sorry for your loss.

  5. Marilyn Lee Craig

    The Lee and Craig Family have so many beautiful memories and pictures of Mother Pannell. Her kindness and gentleness will always be remembered. May God continue to strengthen the family ,she was a great pillar.

  6. Sending my sincere condolences to the Family my Aunt Naomi Pannell she will be truly miss by all , Rest In Peace Aunt Naomi

  7. The Children, Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren of Paul Sylvester Robinson and Adrian Bernard Robinson would like our family to know you are in our prayers and thoughts. May you be comforted knowing that Aunt Naomi is healed and whole in the presence of the Lord. During this time remember the love and many memories. May God keep you and surround you with His Love and peace.

  8. My heartfelt condolences to Naomi’s family. Naomi’s daughter, Tanez, is a great friend of mine who shines a light of love and joy on everyone around her. I never got to meet Naomi, but it was through her that the world got to have Tanez, and by Tanez’s beautiful soul I know in my heart that Naomi was beautiful too. I hope Tanez and the rest of Naomi’s family are able to find love and peace in this difficult time.

  9. Bishop Kim and Lady Elaine Fitzgerald

    Please accept our deepest condolences, and know that our heartfelt prayers are with the family. We give honor to this outstanding, devoted, humble, reverent woman of God, who, by doing the will of the Lord and by being the aroma of Christ wherever she went, impacted the lives of so many people in such a incredible way with her loving and godly fruitful works. Truly Mother Naomi Pannell was the virtuous woman described in Provers 31. Mother Naomi Pannell will truly be missed!

  10. Elder Roy & Mother Sharon B. Day

    The Day Family sincerely is saddened by the passing of our sister and friend, and more specifically, our sister in Christ. She has climbed that Mountain by Her Labour in Christ’s House here on Earth. We express our condolences to the family and friends, especially the Saints and Friends of Little Rock Church Family and Rehoboth Temple Church. “The journey together was sweet.” God gave us the sincere power through the Holy Spirit to continue the message of our Lord Jesus Christ in whom our work is done. “To God Be the Glory.” Our prayers are with you all with our love. Thank you, Bishop and Mother Pannell, for your kind heart and work in the House of the Lord. “I am glad for the cross where Jesus Died.” Amen and Amen

  11. Henderson and Harris Family

    To the Family of “Dear Mom Pannell,” with heavy hearts, please accept our deepest heartfelt sympathy. Mom Pannell was there for every pain, sorrow and celebration we experienced. Words can not express what will truly convey how “Mom,” has affected our lives or meant to us.
    May Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ give you comfort, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost during this difficult season.
    Our continued prayers to our extended family members, with love.

  12. Sandra K Jackson

    Prayers and condolences for the family of Mother Naomi Pannell. I will never forget this beautiful lady, her wit, and her gracefulness. She was a precious jewel.

  13. My prayers and condolences for the family of my Aunt Naomi Pannell. You would always have a warm smile on your face and could always give out great advise. Remember my family she is just resting now from a long hard journey. Maybe one day I will get to see her smiling face again.

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