Barbara L. Darnell

Posted: Thursday, December 18, 2008

Juneau resident Barbara L. Darnell died in her sleep on Dec. 12, 2008, while visiting her daughter in Everett, Wash. She was 74.

Born in 1934 in Lawrence, Kan., and raised in Bonner Springs, Kan., she moved to New Mexico at the age of 17. She earned a bachelor's degree in nursing in El Paso, Texas, and worked as a registered nurse in El Paso.

In the late 1960s, she returned to school to pursue a Bachelor of Science in mathematics at the University of Texas at El Paso, where she met her second husband, Gene.

During her life in Texas, she especially loved geology, often taking her three young children on field trips in the desert, rock-hunting and spelunking. In 1972, she and her family moved to Ketchikan. In Ketchikan, she and her former husband, Gene, owned "Darnell Welding" and, with business partners Deana and Mick Nicholas, "The Dive Shop."

She was employed by the Ketchikan branch of Alaska Federal Savings & Loan (now Alaska Pacific Bank) when her promotion to assistant vice president brought the family to Juneau in 1980. Later and until her retirement, she worked for the Alaska Division of Investments. Her gift of cheerfulness and hospitality were valuable assets in her post-retirement job as a greeter at Kmart, her family said.

She will be remembered for her love of learning, her volunteer work with local charities and organizations as well as her volunteer work with the Republican Party and recently, the Democratic Party, her family said. She was a past member of Toastmasters, Soroptimist International, Rotary and the Ketchikan and Juneau Chambers of Commerce.

She is survived by her daughters, Linda Cray and husband, David, of Everett, Wash., and Debbie McBride and life partner, Stephen Davis, of Juneau; son, Richard Darnell and wife, Patsy, of Bellingham, Wash.; sister, Lee Baker and husband, Ralph, of Roanoke, Va.; and grandsons, Joseph, Jacob and Benjamin Kendo, and Matthew and Carson Darnell, all of Washington.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 4, at Northern Light United Church, 400 W. 11th St. Her body was cremated, and her ashes will be laid to rest in the springtime, in some place beautiful in Alaska.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made in her name to the Gastineau Humane Society, 7705 Glacier Highway, Juneau, AK 99801.

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