Cover photo for James Patrick Harrell's Obituary
James Patrick Harrell Profile Photo

James Patrick Harrell

d. June 2, 2020

James Patrick Harrell

James Patrick “Pat” Harrell, 81, of 246 Ainsley Road, passed away on Tuesday, June 2, at Elizabeth City Health and Rehabilitation following a long illness. The oldest of six children, he was the son of the late James Wesley Harrell, Sr. and Nokomis Harrell Harrell.  He is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Carroll McDonnell Harrell. He is also survived by his loving and supportive family: two sisters, June H. Piland (John,) of Clayton, N.C., Jill H. Kahl (Paul,) three brothers, Jesse Vance Harrell (Hilda,) Joe Allen Harrell (Joan,) and James Wesley “Jimmy” Harrell, Jr. (Darlene,) all of Hertford.

Nieces and nephews surviving whom he loved dearly are: Teresa H. Jennings, Tammy H. Murray (Craig,) Cristen H. Winslow (Justin,) Joshua Harrell (Randi,) Daniel Piland (Wanda,) Tiffany P. Posil (Ben,) Kesha H. Nixon (John,) Gena H. Hurdle (Derek,) Jared Harrell (Allison,) Nicholas Kahl (Jessie,) Nicole K. Billups (Johnny,) and Brian Kahl (Jessica,) twenty great-nieces and nephews and one great-great niece.

Additionally, he is survived by Carroll’s family whom he also loved:  her sister Diana M. Watson (J. Edward, III “Buddy”) of Charlotte, her niece, Jacqueline Hunter Harbeson and her son, Jackson Harbeson of Roanoke, Virginia. He was predeceased by Carroll’s niece, Rene Hunter Kuzniar and her great-nephew, Hunter Harbeson.

He received a B.S. and a MAEd. from East Carolina University where he enjoyed membership in Theta Chi Fraternity. He treasured those friendships and their reunions. A career educator, he began by teaching and coaching one year in Virginia. He then moved to Raleigh where he taught and coached for four years at Millbrook High School. Following this he went into administration as principal at Hertford Grammar School, director of a pilot project in staff development with NCDPI, assistant superintendent and then superintendent of the Perquimans County Schools. He and Carroll moved to Dare County in 1988 where he served as Superintendent of the Dare County Schools until his retirement in 1993.  Following his retirement, he served as Interim Superintendent of the Lee County Schools, the Scotland County Schools, the Nash-Rocky Mount Schools, and finally back to Perquimans as Interim Superintendent. He also served as Interim President of College of the Albemarle.

Always civic-minded, he enjoyed membership in Rotary International. He was a member of the Hertford club where he served as president. While a member of the Manteo Rotary Club, he was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship. After moving back to Herford, he again enjoyed membership in the Hertford club until his health failed.  He served as the first chairman of the Outer Banks Hospital Board of Directors and also was chairman of the Vidant-Chowan Hospital Board of Directors. He helped organize the Perquimans County Schools Foundation and was its first president. A lover of sports, he also enjoyed membership on the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Board of Directors and was president of the organization for two consecutive terms. He was inducted into the NCHSAA Hall of Fame in 2004 and one of 100 Outstanding N.C. Superintendents during the organization’s 100th anniversary celebration in 2014. Upon his retirement in 1993, he was honored to be a recipient of The Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

A life-long Methodist, he grew up in Woodland United Methodist Church and after their marriage and move to Hertford, Pat and Carroll were active members of Hertford UMC and rejoined after moving back to Hertford in 2002. While living in Manteo, they were active members of Mt. Olivet UMC. He and Carroll also were blessed by their active involvement with the Emmaus of the Albemarle community.

A private family memorial service will be held on Sunday, June 7 at Hertford UMC.  It will be conducted by Pastor Gene Tyson. Following easement of Covid 19 restrictions, a celebration of life service will be planned.

Flowers are welcomed but donations may also be made to either of the following scholarship funds:  Hertford United Methodist Church, c/o The Pat Harrell Scholarship, 200 Dobbs Street, Hertford, NC, 27944 or to The Perquimans County Schools Foundation, c/o The Pat Harrell Scholarship, P. O. Box 337, Hertford, N.C. 27944.

The Miller and VanEssendelft Funeral Home is serving the Harrell family.  Online condolences may be made by visiting

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Patrick Harrell, please visit our flower store.


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