IN MEMORIAM: Bart Parnall

IN MEMORIAM: Bart Parnall

It is with great sadness that has learned that fellow rifleman Bart Parnall left the range on October 15, 2011. Bart succumbed to Primary Pulmonary Hypertension while waiting for a heart/lung transplant.

Most of us last saw Bart at Camp Perry where, in spite of being hooked up to an oxygen tank, he shot a 2392-173X during the Prone Metallic Sight Championship to earn a place on the 2011 US Dewar Team. Unfortunately his conditioned worsened and he had to leave Perry prior to the firing of the Dewar to seek medical treatment.

Bart started shooting at nine years of age in his native Maine and won the Maine State Junior Championship three years in a row. He first came to national prominence on the shooting scene when, in 1981, when he won the Joseph P. Glaab Memorial Trophy emblematic of the NRA National Sub Junior Prone Championship. He competed at the college level as a member of the Murray State University Rifle Team and then took a hiatus. After graduation from Murray he served as an officer in the US Army where he completed the rigorous training program to earn the coveted Ranger Tab.

He returned to the game in 2007 with the goal of making the 2012 US Olympic Shooting Team in the prone event. It would be hard to conceive of Bart being as disabled for during his last few months of competition he won the Black Hawk Rifle Championship with a score of 3199-251X. He followed that up by taking the Dixieland Smallbore Regional 3200 and 2011 Georgia State Championship. Just prior to Perry he shot the Mid-Atlantic Prone Championship, winning it with a near perfect score of 6399-518X. He shot two iron sight 1600s, for a rare metallic sight 3200, and one any sight 1600 in the process.

While Bart’s professional life centered about his work as the principal consultant, for Pi Marketing Company of Charleston, SC, he was a talented artist. Perhaps that was a genetic gift, as he was the son of award winning designer, illustrator, and author Peter Parnall, and Virginia Buck, a children’s book author. His wife, Christy, also survives him.

Bart faced his disease, a no win situation, with great fortitude, refusing to compromise his life style or dreams to its debilitating effects. Those of us who spent any time with Bart witnessed his good humor, positive attitude, and, as Ernest Hemingway famously defined courage, his grace under pressure.

We are diminished.

About Hap Rocketto

Hap Rocketto is a Distinguished Rifleman with service and smallbore rifle, member of The Presidents Hundred, and the National Guard’s Chief’s 50. He is a National Smallbore Record holder, a member of the 1600 Club and the Connecticut Shooters’ Hall Of Fame. He was the 2002 Intermediate Senior Three Position National Smallbore Rifle Champion, the 2012 Senior Three Position National Smallbore Rifle Champion a member of the 2007 and 2012 National Four Position Indoor Championship team, coach and captain of the US Drew Cup Team, and adjutant of the United States 2009 Roberts and 2013 Pershing Teams. Rocketto is very active in coaching juniors. He is, along with his brother Steve, a cofounder of the Corporal Digby Hand Schützenverein. A historian of the shooting sports, his work appears in Shooting Sports USA, the late Precision Shooting Magazine, The Outdoor Message, the American Rifleman, the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s website, and most recently, the apogee of his literary career,
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12 Responses to IN MEMORIAM: Bart Parnall

  1. Dennis Lindenbaum says:

    Thanks Hap. I first met Bart 3 years ago at a regional in South Carolina. Since that time I have had the opportunity to shoot with Bart numerous times at matches in Ga, SC, and Ohio. You mentioned some of Bart’s many accomplishments in shooting and other ventures. What I will remember is his constant willingness to teach and help others. He was always very generous with his time and knowledge in helping me with my many questions whether by phone, email or in person at matches. Most notable, however, was watching Bart mentor young Wyatt Savage over the past three years. The two have been inseparable. Bart called him his personal valet. It has been a pleasure to watch Wyatt mature as a fine shooter as well as a young man. Although Bart shot a 1599 winning the anysight match at the Dixieland Regional last May, Wyatt fired a superlative 1597 to finish third overall that day. I don’t know who was happier, Bart or Wyatt. Wyatt went on to finish 5th in Inermediate/Sub-Junior at Camp Perry this summer. When I first met Wyatt, he was all enthusiasm, but short in skill and discipline. He is not the same person any longer. While a person’s memories may fade with the passage of time, their works can live on forever. Be sure to say hello to Wyatt at the matches.

  2. Mike Rossi says:

    I first met Bart at RBGC, however, hearing great things about his shooting career. He was such a great man and mentor. I first heard of the news of his passing this Sunday while practicing up at the range. He will certainly be missed. Mike

  3. Martha Snyder says:

    Thank you for such a beautiful tribute. Bart is also survived by a beautiful 14 year old daughter, Madeline. She has inherited his strength and determination as she became a black belt in karate at age 12.

    He lives on in her.

    Martha & Rik Snyder, her maternal grandparents

  4. Hap Rocketto says:

    Mrs. Snyder,

    Thank you for the update. I did not know Bart outside of the rifle range and so had little insight into his domestic life and that is why I inadvertently omitted Madeline.

    My condolences to all of you.


  5. Brian Adam Johnson says:

    My first encounter with Bart was at the Black Hawk rifle match in 2008 at Palmetto. I was a junior at the time and somehow managed to win iron sight day, with my first master score ever. This caused quite a stir among the adults and Bart sought me out. When we met, I remember he was more excited about my accomplishment that day then I was. He believed I had more potential than I had ever even dreamed of and wanted to coach me to the next level. I had no coach at the time, so I excitedly accepted his offer. When you live 5 hours away in a different state, coaching can be difficult but Bart made it work. Via, email, text, phone calls, many pictures and noptel session files, Bart put me on the path to success. He graciously gave his time to me and had me stay with him during my breaks from school for weeks at a time so we could train together. The following year at the Black Hawk rifle match, where we first met, I shot my first 1600 and set 4 national records. I owe these accomplishments to Bart for all the encouragement he gave me and pushing me to be a better shooter. Bart was more than just a coach and a shooting buddy to me. He was also a good friend and taught me a lot about life. The strength and perseverance he exhibited despite being terminally ill was amazing. If his condition got him down, he never let it show and he lived his life to the fullest instead of being depressed.


  6. Wm. C. Smith says:

    Bart suffered for several years while waiting to get a transplant. His drive this season was to win the major matches and finish it off with Camp Perry. When I helped carry Bart from the line the second day of irons both of us realised his dream of beating the odds had run out of time. I have no doubt that had the flesh been willing he would have managed to win Perry. A trophy in his memory would be a fitting award for Camp Perry. It would put him on the podium where he belonged.

  7. Angela,Bart's home infusion nurse says:

    Bart was a wonderful person who I enjoyed visiting always. No matter how he felt he would put on a smile tell jokes and would never end a conversation without mentioning his beautiful intelligent wife and his incredibly talented and lovely daughter. He had a wonderful spirit and looked forward to everyday never letting his disease get the best of him. He prepared each day as to how he would be able to feel best when his wife came home so he could spend quality time with her. I am thankful that I was a part of the medical team that was able to administer to Bart to help him maintain the best quality of life that could be for him. He was excited to be shooting again after starting his treatments and he would keep me updated on his goals to make the Olympic team for 2012, never giving up. For the short time I knew Bart he was an inspiration and I am truly blessed that I had the pleasure of knowing him. May his inspiration live on in all that knew him.

  8. Kent Reeve says:

    Bart was one of a kind, his own man wearing a constant smile and positive attitude. He made us better shooters and better people. Thank you Bart for all the good memories and showing us how to live the fullest right up to your last breath! Kent

  9. Rita Paiement says:

    I have known Bart since childhood…as a matter of fact he found me on facebook about a year ago asking…”how is the girl responsible for my first kiss….” that was eighth grade…We are all better people because we knew someone like Bart…

  10. Hello everyone! Thank you for your wonderful commentaries on Bart. It’s grand to hear from so many of Bart’s friends.
    Bart lived his life fully. Aside from his expert shooting he had various gifts. For instance he was a fine artist. Several years ago he constructed beautiful 3-dimensional golf art paintings and furniture to the surprise of many of his friends. His exhibits in Charleston were very successful. Creating turquoise and silver jewelery was another achievement. He was an expert skier and surfer! Over the years Bart earned his Black Belt in Kempo. While he loved to shoot his greatest gratification came when as a coach those he coached equaled him or surpassed him. How he rejoiced!
    But best of all was the love he poured into his daughter Madeline-who was and still is the apple of his eye- a young woman of sensitivity, strength, and intelligence.
    I welcome any one who has stories, memories or pictures of Bart to share. If you would like to contact me about Bart please do so at my website. (This is my children’s book website).
    Lastly, Bart often talked about his shooting friends with profound admiration and respect. I met some of you at Camp Perry in July 2011. I hope one day to meet all of you.
    Thank you all for loving Bart. I love you for it!
    Virginia, Bart’s Mom

  11. Patrick Rowling says:

    Bart was my friend and teammate on the Pine Hill Shooting Club “Target Terrors” back in Warren, ME. I won the state championship one year, he won it the next. We finished 3rd in the nation as a team in the NRA postal matches. In the coming years, I switched my focus to high power and pistol, he continued with smallbore and crushed it, including a National Championship.

    Here I am, 40 years later, living in SC … and getting back to shooting smallbore prone. I’ll always be thinking of him when I am on the range, and trying to live up to his legacy for the old Pine Hill gang!

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