Monday, October 17, 2016

Connie Ballard Darnell, 72

I was surprised and saddened to learn of the sudden death of my cousin, Connie, on October 11.  Her funeral is today in Florida where she and her husband retired after his career in the Navy.  Connie was actually my father's cousin, so she was my first cousin once removed, but because she and her sisters Marilyn and Sharon were close in age to my siblings and me, and we all lived in the same town, they were just "cousins."  Her father, Uncle Orville Ballard, was my grandmother's "baby" brother, and he and my father were close friends.  Dad was the best man in Orville and Dorothy's wedding. Dorothy and her three daughters were all very talented women, particularly in fabric arts and music.

Sharon, Connie and Marilyn with Aunt Ada, ca. 2009

Connie, lower left, 1980s    

Constance “Connie” Kay Darnell passed away on October 11, 2016 in Orange Park, FL.  She was born on July 30, 1944 in Rockford, IL to the late Orville E. Ballard and Dorothy E. Norberg Ballard.

Constance earned her B.S. degree from the University of Illinois, where she met her husband of 47 years, Thomas Darnell.  For over 30 of these years, she artfully mastered the intricate and demanding commission of a Navy spouse, moving her family from one place to another, always ensuring everyone was secure in their new surroundings.  Every new locale offered new opportunities to nurture her love of the outdoors, and she enjoyed activities such as tennis, sailing, golf, gardening and hiking.  She was artistically talented and expressed her inventiveness through the creation of intricate quilts for family members, as well as painting, writing and playing the piano and saxophone.  Her love and passion for books and the written word inspired her to become a literacy volunteer for Clay County Literacy Coalition where she earned Tutor of the Year recognition in 2013.   Another volunteer effort close to her heart was collecting food for the local charity, Waste Not Want Not.
Among those cherishing her memory are her loving husband, Thomas R. Darnell; daughters, Melissa K. Brewer (Bret G.) and Erica D. Van Eenoo (Ed); grandchildren, Isaac Van Eenoo, Jessica Brewer, Emma Van Eenoo, Logan Brewer and Anya Van Eenoo; and sisters Marilyn Shinall and Sharon Wieland.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Waste Not Want Not, P.O. Box 119, Orange Park, FL 32067, (904) 687-6327.

Memorial service will be held on Monday, October 17, 2016 at 2:00 pm with visitation at 1:30 pm at the Aaron and Burney Bivens Funeral Home, 529 Kingsley Avenue, Orange Park, FL 32073, (904) 264-1233.

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