The John K. Darr Memorial Fund
The John K. Darr Memorial Fund was established by his family to benefit a Delaware Durable Equipment Closet.
John Darr touched the lives of many people during the 74 years he was alive and continues to inspire people today. He was an executive who was a mentor and advisor for many. Friendships made decades earlier and later in life on the golf course were valued. John served his country in the Navy and his community with volunteerism and financial support. He was the core of his family.
John and Linda shared 43 years of marriage. He was a devoted Father to Joshua and his wife Mary Beth and to Christopher and his wife Erin. John was an immensely proud grandfather to Allison, Annabelle, Emma, Abby and Caroline.
Grief and Acceptance
By: Annabelle Darr
I heard rustling outside the shower. The noise was getting louder until I heard banging on the door. I ignored it. The shower stream engulfed me as the white foamy soap ran down the shower drain. The banging noise came back, but then after I heard, “She won’t hurry, I’m getting mad, “Allison said to someone. I’m guessing my mom. I ignored them just enjoying the warmth and being sand free.
The outdoor shower was wooden like a barn. Rustic and a shade of brown like sand. The shower was filled with bubbles, looking like waves washing up to shore. The soapy sandy suds were draining into the grass. I stepped out wrapped in my sandy beach towel. Sand sticking to me. The line of people waiting had grown to my 3 cousins and my older sister. I got some glares, but I kept walking. I opened the rusty door to the sandy room. The dark room filled to the brim with towels and boards. Skim, surf, and boogie boards lined the walls. I heard my mom and aunt mumbling. The sound of music on the porch drowned them out. My dad and grandpa are probably on the porch. I walked up the stairs quickly to get changed. I changed into pink shorts and a yellow shirt with daisies on it. My five-year-old self ran down the stairs to go on a hunt for the comb. I went to my grandpa’s special chair. The comb was on the red table next to the big blue chair. I grabbed it and skipped to the porch. “Walk Annabelle,” my grandpa said calmly. My tendency to run made him mad. But he gave me a sweet smile as I sat on the floor in front of him. His warm smile made me feel safe. I handed him the comb and he started brushing through my soft blonde hair. “How was the beach today?” he asked, grabbing more sections of my hair. He said it in a kind of way wishing he could be there with me. “Good! I dove all the big waves today!” I explain, feeling proud of myself. He smiled; I know he loved talking about the beach. But I also know he loved talking to me. Each conversation is sweet and pure. Like it didn’t need to have a reason.
“We will always love and miss him,” my uncle said. I was snapped out of my memory fast. And it dawned on me that I wasn’t at the beach house. I wasn’t on the porch, and I wasn’t on the floor getting my hair combed. I was sitting in the first row of a church next to my cousin silently crying at his funeral. I was in a black dress with a black bow and my hair pulled half up half down with a black hair tie. I was listening as my uncle spoke, tears rolling off his face. I’ve never seen an adult cry, and when I looked around all my role models had red puffy eyes. I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed. The church was quiet, besides the sniffles here and there. But my uncle continued talking, he told memories, and I grabbed my cousin’s hand. Her 7-year-old self was looking at me with tears rolling off her face. I can’t believe he’s gone. I can’t believe ALS won. It felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. I could barely breathe. I wanted to feel ok, but I didn’t. I wanted this to be a bad dream. I wanted to wake up at the beach house in my twin bed with multiple blue blankets. I wanted to be in Delaware and walk to the beach holding his warm hand and hug him. I wanted to be able to walk down the stairs and see my grandpa making breakfast, listening to music as he asks about our plan for the day. But I can’t because ALS took that away from me. It took away my only grandfather. And as I looked at my cousin, we both knew we weren’t ok. Not even close. But we had each other. And we had his memory. And no one, not even ALS, can take that away from us.
A letter from the author (me) Annabelle
I wrote this story about my grandpa who was always there for me and was my number 1 role model. He unfortunately passed in 2019 after battling ALS, an incurable disease. In July 2018, he was told he had 1 week to live. But he kept fighting and lived another 7 months. He was my rock and he loved me so much. He always bragged about me and my cousins. 5 cousins, he called us his basketball team. (Even though none of us played basketball.) He loved us and that’s why I decided to dedicate this to my grandpa In loving memory of John Keith Darr.
Annabelle gives her grandpa a kiss.