Alice Parrish Angell, 68, of Vale, NC passed away Wednesday, May 19, 2021 in her home.
I cannot adequately express my gratitude for the 47 years Alice and I had together. How could I possibly do justice in describing Alice's precious life?
Born on Halloween of 1952, of a Parisian war bride and an Alabama-Floridian World War 2 veteran, Alice was the 2nd born and only daughter, with her brothers Phillip and Charles.
The University of Florida town of Gainesville was an early inspiration to the three siblings in pursuing their educations.
Alice completed her bachelor's degree in History at Valdosta State, then moved back to Gainesville to pursue graduate work in her field.
It was there that I met the love of my life. She happened to enroll in a graduate psychology course that I was taking.
Our shared interests, particularly in the spiritual realm, quickly pulled us together.
After I finished my graduate program in counseling and she finished her MAT in history, we stayed in the area for a few years. I so relished having a devoted companion on the spiritual journey which eclipsed our professional lives. Alice was often the one who discovered, then set us off on, our next spiritual adventure.
Before we left Gainesville, we had our first child, Kalina.
Inspiration and economics were behind our move to Western North Carolina, where we sustainably developed 8 acres, with an innovative, passive solar, semi-Earth-integrated home. There, we had our second-born, Marielle, to complete our little family.
Alice, always inspired by books and an avid reader, went to graduate school at UNCG to complete a Master of Library Science degree. It was her dream and she pursued it while working full time, fulfilling the duties of a mother and driving to Greensboro a number of times per week.
After graduation, she was hired by the Catawba Valley school system as the elementary school librarian at Clyde Campbell Elementary School. There were many changes over her 25 year career there, as her library expanded, the digital age blossomed and she was re-titled as the school Media Coordinator.
She was the inspiration of many students there, over the years, and it was not uncommon for an adult to approach her, while we were doing in business in Hickory, and tell her how appreciated she was during the elementary years of that person's life - how much she had contributed to development as a person.
Alice was always a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother, devotedly focused to the needs of her family. There are so many gratifying memories of Alice in our lives. . . of hiking in the mountains, of camping, of traveling to beaches and other exciting places in Florida and beyond.
Alice loved the sense of enchantment and wonder. She studied about it and kindled the spirit of these states in her students. She devoured fantasy and positive sci-fi media. And, though she never admitted it, she was my faithful fellow-Trekkie - never missing any program or movie!
In later years, after our daughters were grown and off to pursue their own lives, Alice joined me in the adventure sport of kayaking. She always said she did it to be with me, because she didn't want me to go back to flying those ultralight planes! But she was a skilled paddler.
Despite her "marginal" kayaking interest, I don't remember when we drove over the bridge of a river that I didn't see her straining her vision to pick out the best lines in the current that she might follow pursuing her course downstream.
Yes, she loved her books - and everything else in print. She was the quintessential librarian! But she was always an adventurous companion, despite her worrisome participation. I always suspected her prime motivation was to try to ensure the absence of mishaps during our adventures! And, to our gratitude, she always succeeded.
I once offered her a framed photograph of her paddling in her kayak, saying she could put it on her desk, in her school library. Then students and staff would know there was another side to her, besides being a librarian. She refused it - saying she didn't want to cultivate an ego trip in herself about her other interests.
Alice became equally devoted as a grandmother when our first granddaughter, Bjorian, arrived; then our grandson, Django, followed by another granddaughter, Lilith, over the past 14 years. Though she passes on while yet during their childhoods, there can be no doubt that she has forever imprinted them with her legacy of sweet love and devotion.
Retirement was the beginning of a new adventure. I lost track of all the periodicals to which she subscribed.
Together, we created a permaculture garden at our place. We traveled west, by car, to California, after flying there on a few occasions. We started to ride bikes as another hobby, but not long after, I got sick.
She nursed me through it, then - a little over 2 years ago - Alice became sick and was hospitalized. She was finally diagnosed with a type of Amyloidosis; a very rare disease that strikes only one in five million. The last two years were a crescendo of overwhelming suffering for Alice as she courageously battled her disease.
Through it all, her prime concern was always for the well-being of members of her family.
Alice was devotedly active in causes of human rights, typically leading me into street demonstrations and marches for the rights of her extended human family. She loved it! Every cause that was just, she was there. With her inspiration, we went to more demonstrations and marches over the past four years than over the previous course of our lives!
Especially under the crushing shadow of Covid, Alice had little comfort over the last two years of her life. But she endured. This tiny, now fragile lady, who had been my life's companion, did not go gently into that good night. She hung on with every fiber of her being - mostly because she didn't want to leave her beloved family.
Through it all, we were witness to an amazing transformation. This sweet, devoted wife, mother and grandmother slowly surrendered to the onslaught of a vicious, rare disease that gradually destroyed her heart. Yet the spiritual heart in her became even stronger. She developed the faith that the Light that sustained her - even in the failing of her physical body - would sustain us all!
And so, with no remaining way to maintain her physical body in this world, she slowly let go - giving each and all of us the precious time to say goodbye. . . for now.
I am so grateful for her companionship and partnership over the 47 years we shared!
I am so grateful that the great sufferings of her life are over and that she has graduated to a new level of blissful existence!
Having lost Alice in bits and pieces over the past two years, I find that grief does not weigh nearly as heavily on my shoulders as I expected. In that first night after her crossing, as I lay exhausted in a fitful sleep, she came to me in spirit - this soulmate of mine - to reassure me of her enduring love. And I knew, once again, that even the most painful goodbye is not forever.
Surviving is her loving husband, Granville Williams Angell; daughters, Kalina Angell (Rob Gauthier) of Kalamazoo, MI, Marielle Angell (J.J. Ball) of Weaverville, NC; brother, Charles Parrish of FL; granddaughters, Bjorian Eaker of Weaverville, NC, Lilith Gauthier of Kalamazoo, MI; grandson, Django Zoilo Ball of Weaverville, NC; brother-in-law, Joe Hennessy of Claremont, FL and son-in-law, Offen Villalobos of Mars Hill, NC.
Outdoor Celebration of Life Service will be held Wednesday, June 2, 2021 at 2PM
At: Carolina Memorial Sanctuary
195 Blessed Way
Mills River, NC
(Alternative address for GPS navigation: 2041 Old Fanning Bridge Road) Park in the graveled Unity church parking lot at far left. Follow trail. Bring camp chair.
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