Cover photo for Gaynelle Narcisse's Obituary
Gaynelle Narcisse Profile Photo
1934 Gaynelle 2024

Gaynelle Narcisse

February 4, 1934 — January 2, 2024

Des Moines, Iowa

To view Ms. Narcisse service please click Link below Part 2, of service

Gaynelle Narcisse was born on February 4, 1934 to Frances “Mamie” Simmons and Albert “Dave” Kellogg in Des Moines, Iowa. 


Gaynelle was a lifelong resident of Iowa. She was educated through the Des Moines Public School System.  Gaynelle had attended Logan Elementary School, Amos Hiatt Junior High School and graduated from East High School.  She had the opportunity to attend college with an Art Scholarship that was offered by Drake University.


Instead of attending college, Gaynelle married Fred L. Narcisse, Sr. on April 13, 1952.  From this union they had 4 children, two boys and two girls. 


Gaynelle was a hard worker all of her life.  Her career began with baby sitting the neighborhood children.  As Gaynelle became an adult, she was employed by Tiny Tots Day Care Center founded by Evelyn Davis; Blue Cross/ Blue Shield as a claims examiner; a Nurse’s Aide at Methodist Hospital; a program director for the first Senior Citizen Center in the Des Moines area; customer service representative and worked with prosthetics in the foundation  department at Younkers Department Store; and KUCB Radio Talk Show Host. She was the bookkeeper and supervisor for “The Bystander”, “The Communicator” and various other newspapers owned and operated by her son, Jonathan R. Narcisse. Gaynelle held this position until she retired at the age of 80.


Gaynelle known as “Aunt Gay” by her nieces and nephews, loved working with children.  A community activist who worked on the Charrette Board that designed Edmonds Elementary School; involved with protests to protect youth  accused of community crimes; participated in the Million Woman March in Washington D.C.; Sisters Still Marching and was a member of the Community Support Force.  She was a Girl and Boy Scout leader and a committed mother who was a member of the PTA for all four of her children.


Gaynelle was a gifted orator, wrote a book titled “They Took Our Piece of the Pie”. Its content focused on historical stories from members of the Des Moines community about the booming, black owned businesses, “boogie woogie” dancing establishments showcasing bands and musicians who came to Des Moines from near and far.  Center Street was the place to go to get and eat delicious REAL soul food! Lastly, her book shared that Center Street was patrolled by our very own black police officers. 


Gaynelle was an active and involved lifelong member of Burns United Methodist Church.  She sang in the choir, was a Sunday School Teacher, Chaired and a member of the Christian Education Department and United Methodist Woman (UMW) committee.  She organized numerous church programs including the annual Easter and Christmas events.  In 1996 she received the “Woman of the Year” award for her outstanding Service.  As her last major activity at Burns, she organized the 150th Anniversary Banquet in 2016. 


On January 2, 2024, God decided that Gaynelle needed to rest, to come home and not worry anymore.  Her work on earth was done.  She ran a good race and sang a good song, comforting young and old along the way.  She unconditionally loved her children and family! Her spirit was so loving, with arms wide open to many.


The Halleluiah “To God be the Glory” train was sitting and waiting.  The road to glory, with her Angels all around her, so she wouldn’t be alone! Rest now, my good and faithful servant….. ALL ABOARD!


Gaynelle was preceded in death by her husband, Fred Lee Narcisse, Sr; parents, Frances “Mamie” Parkey and Albert D. Kellogg and Robert L. Parkey, Sr.; brothers, Robert L. Parkey Jr., Kenneth Parkey Sr., Lawrence Parkey, Ronald Parkey, Thomas Parkey and Roger Parkey; sisters, Barbara Christmon, Betty Wilkerson, and Roberta Keesee; son, Jonathan R.  Narcisse; aunts and uncles, Helen Payne (Samuel) and Myrtle Michael. 


Left to cherish Gaynelle’s legacy is her son, Fred L. Narcisse Jr.; daughter’s Gaylene Narcisse and Tonia (Lester)        Richardson; grandchildren, Allen (Sonata) Narcisse, Johnce Tolefree, Deseree Jones, Brandon Richardson, Integrity    Narcisse and Perseverance Narcisse; brother Russell E. Parkey Sr., 12 great-grandchildren and a host of nieces,       nephews, cousins and friends. 



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Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, January 18, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm

Henderson's Highland Park Funeral Home

3500 6th Ave, Des Moines, IA 50313

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Funeral Service

Friday, January 19, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm

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