BARBARA ANN THOMPSON DARDEN ~ Honorary Class of 1959
January 27, 1941 - May 31, 2012
Barbara Ann Darden (BarbaraAnn to her southern kin) was born January 27, 1941, in Junction City, AR to Irvin and Pearl Aline Thompson. She loved her small town with few unpaved streets, going barefoot and building frog houses in the wet sand. Life there included an extensive family and her grandmother, Big Mama, whom she dearly loved.
She moved to the Tri-Cities with her parents and brother, Robert, when she was seven. She loved when her Grandma would visit and take her back on the train, listening to the glasses tinkling in the dining car as the train sped her back home.
Barbara attended Columbia High School, learning to sew and follow a recipe out of a cookbook, two of her greatest pleasures.
She met and married Jeff Darden in 1959 and had four children in four years. It was a whirlwind for her, and she handled it with grace, laughter and common sense. She believed her four beautiful children to be her greatest accomplishment.
Barbara and Jeff built West Richland Plumbing and Irrigation into a thriving business and enjoyed traveling together and with family. Family were their closest friends.
Barbara was a wonderful mom, greeting each morning with Rise and Shine, showing them strength, patience and marveling when they emulated her ability to adapt and learn new things. She loved it when the grandkids started arriving. She was the matriarch of her family, hosting holiday get-togethers with her delicious cooking.
Sadly, her husband Jeff passed away in 2005.
After her children were grown she traveled with her cousin back to Junction City almost every year. She loved visiting and the southern cooking, fried fish, chicken and cornbread.
Barbara acquired Pulmonary Fibrosis six years ago and enjoyed each day the Lord gave her, leaning on Him for strength, exemplifying grace and maintaining her positive, southern attitude. She passed away peacefully, at home, listening to her favorite scriptures on May 31, 2012.
She will be dearly missed by her four children, ten grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Barbara was preceded in death by her husband, Jeff; mother, Aline; father, Irvin; and brother, Robert.
She is survived by her children: sons, Dan Darden and Jerome (Grace) Darden; daughters, Diane (Cory) Mceachern and Julie (Mike) Surmeyer; grandchildren: Brandon, Jaymie, Jory, Tera, Christy, Samantha, Jesse, John, Elizabeth and Jacob; great-grandchildren: Hazel, Ava, Dexter Danger and Mia Amor; niece, Janice (Rick) Slater; nephews: Don (Rinda) Darden, Martin (Tammy) Gilley, Jeffrey (Karen) Gilley, Randy Darden and Jody Darden.
Graveside services and reception were held June 9, 2012, at Einan's Sunset Memorial in Richland. In lieu of flowers, please donate generously to Kennewick Hospice, who provided immense comfort, friendship and spiritual strength to Barbara.
Published in the Tri-City Herald on June 3, 2012.
Bomber Memorial put together by Shirley COLLINGS Haskins ('66).