Friends Remembered: Arnold Warren Parrett

Arnold Warren Parret

Arnold Warren Parrett, 85, of Hamilton, Kentucky, died Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023.

He was born to Neal and Pearl (Manning) Parrett on Oct. 15, 1938, in Williamsburg, Kentucky.

Parrett received the Carnegie Medal in 1961 for his attempted rescue of a 4-year-old boy from drowning. The boy was swept into the Great Miami River after his father’s motorboat stalled above a dam where the water was 5 feet higher than normal. His father and brother were also swept into the water but managed to reach the bank of the river.

From the bank below the first of four bridges, Parrett entered the water. Swimming hard, he overtook the boy and attempted to tow him toward the bank, but both were carried downstream. The swift current pulled the boy from the grasp of Parrett, who regained his hold but still could not make any progress toward the bank. The current again jerked the boy from Parrett’s grasp. Tiring rapidly, Parrett swam after the boy but could not overtake him and was submerged intermittently. At the second bridge, Parrett, who had swum 3,000 feet, grasped a rope lowered by firemen and clung to it until two policemen reached him in a motorboat and took him aboard. The police in the motorboat were later able to pull the 4-year-old aboard and another man who had attempted to save him.

Parrett received his education in the Hamilton Public Schools. On June 21, 1957 he married Donna June Batdorf in Newport, Kentucky.

He was employed by Beckett Paper Company and retired after 32 years of service. He was a devoted member of the North Fairfield Baptist Church. After retirement, just like before, Parrett lived life to the fullest. He loved spending time with his family and friends and playing volleyball.

Parrett loved to travel, whether by bus, plane, car, or cruise ship. He had a love for the outdoors and listening to music. Parrett will always be remembered as a fun-loving, easy-going, witty, “never met a stranger” kind of guy. He was described as a selfless man.

Parrett is survived by his daughter, Dreama Barnes; son, Arnold Dwayne Parrett; three grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife and sister Butella Parsley.