MISSION –Densil V. “D. V.” Fennell, 93, passed away on Friday, July 29, 2016, at the Frank M. Tejeda Texas State Veteran’s Home where he had resided for the past four years.
A longtime Mission resident and local businessman, Mr. Fennell was born Dec. 15, 1922, to Flim Benjamin and Athel Fennell in his family’s home near Holdenville, Okla.
His career with the C. R. Anthony retail chain began after his graduation from high school was put on hold when, on Feb. 23, 1943, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. He served during World War II.
He achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant and served as chief observer with the 290th Field Artillery Observation Battalion, attached to the 1st Army, 3rd Army, 82nd Airborne Division and 101st Airborne Division in the European theater.
He was awarded the Bronze Star medal for his actions at Ardennes in the Battle of Bulge. He was honorably discharged on Jan. 15, 1946, and resumed his life at home in Holdenville where he returned to C. R. Anthony Co. and soon moved into an assistant manager position.
On June 16, 1946, he married Bernice Smallwood, and they were married for 55 years before her death in 2002.
His career with the C. R. Anthony chain covered a span of more than 46 years. In 1948, the family moved to Raymondville where he was assistant manager. In 1951, he opened the store in San Benito as manager. In 1957, he accepted the position of manager of the Mission store, where he remained until that store closed in the mid-70s. From that time until his retirement he was part of the managerial team for the McAllen store.
Mr. Fennell was a longtime member of Conway Avenue Baptist Church where he served on several committees. He was an active member of the Kiwanis Clubs and Chambers of Commerce in both San Benito and Mission, and served with the Downtown Mission Merchants Committee.
He is survived by his daughters, Connie Lewis of Slidell, La., Kathy Cranfill of San Antonio, Patti Castilla of McAllen and Terri Willeford of San Antonio; sister, Dorothy Blackburn of Oklahoma City, Okla.; and 12 grandchildren,27 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife and parents, and brothers, Desmar Fennell and Flim Charles Fennell.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 3, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Ric Brown Family Funeral Home in Mission. A funeral service will be held on Thursday, Aug. 4, at 10 a.m. at the funeral home. A graveside service with military honors will follow at Valley Memorial Gardens with Rev. Richard Shahan officiating.
Pallbearers will be his grandsons, Keith Willeford, Sean Castilla, Kevin Cranfill, Scott Willeford, Brian Castilla and Jason Willeford.
In lieu of flowers the family suggested that memorials be made to the charity of one’s choice.