A Peaceful End

I regret to inform you that Darrell passed away peacefully this afternoon. And he made two things very clear before his death, he wanted no memorial service. And in leau of flowers, he wanted his friends and family to send donations to the Primavera Foundation, 702 South 6th Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85701. It is a charity that he and Bob felt very passionate about.
I only moments ago got off the phone with Diane and Bob, learning about Darrell’s untimely death and Darrell’s wishes for his friends and family. Bob was strong and decisive about sharing this bad news with you as quickly as possible, reminding me several times how Darrell wanted us to honor his life.
Like you all, I am struggling with this news and I don’t know what to say. My tears are still flowing and I must allow myself additional time before writing you more.

Comments

  1. Paula Dallas says:

    I never knew
    it could hurt so much.

    I never kenw
    so many strong feelings
    would churn inside me.

    I’m overwhelmed.
    I’m confused.
    I’m angry.
    I’m lonely.
    I’m hurting.

    Part of my heart
    has been ripped away.

    How will I survive this?
    How long will it hurt, God?
    How long will it hurt?

    - Kenneth Haugk from Experiencing Grief

  2. Julie says:

    I am so sorry to hear the sad news. I have been following the blog every day at least twice a day. It saddens me to think that I won’t have a chance to see Darrell again here in Pittsburgh. Who would have thought that Darrell would meet such an untimely death. It just goes to show that you never know when that time will come and to be sure that you give love to all that surround you.
    It has been hard to be so far away and not be able to do anything.

    Hugs and kisses to Bob.

    Julie Shepley

  3. Ernie says:

    I can not believe the my dear friend is gone. Darrell and I have been friends for over 35 years. We shared an apartment for over 6 years, in New Jersey. I will miss his wonderful smile, great laugh and great jokes. He will be in my heart always.

    I hope Bob all the best. I visited them both two years ago, and still have great pictures of us together. Tonight, I went thorugh all my pictures of Darrell and started to cry.

    I will miss him so much.

    Ernie

  4. Diane says:

    Oh, all of you wonderful friends and family,

    Today was one of those never, ever, want to repeat days ; as Marlene ( Darrell’s sister) and I ( a winebird friend) sat and tried to help Darrell’s transition to peace.

    While we all struggle for reality; please be reassured, it was a peaceful ending for our friend. He was strong ’til the end, but failing systems prevailed. He slept away in peace as the monitors showed flat lines. In a moment, life was gone.

    We can only reflect on who Darrell was, and how he and Bob impacted our lives…caring, giving, practicing random acts of kindness. Oh that I could give to others as these guys did.

    Larry and I were the ones to break the news to Bob….we sat for hours. Life….so fragile….how can our broken hearts survive?

    Darrell wanted no fuss… cremation, no ceremonies…poof, I’m gone. But Darrell is not a vapor…he has impacted everyone he has known. Can’t, in every community, we share a cup of coffee, a sip of wine, a group hug, in his memory?

    Bob… aching….and of so devastated….. needs support too. We are going to be here…but our hearts ache as much as his.

    Won’t everyone…please, tomorrow, go out and do a random act of kindness…in Darrell’s Memory?

    May the spirit of Darrell… Gene….never end????

    Peace to all, Diane and Larry

  5. Barbara & Neil Hurlbut says:

    I had barely finished my other comments before receiving a call from Marlene with the news that Darrell is gone. Neil and I are both stunned and very sad. I feel as if I will never see another person with such a smile, such great laughter and an amazing sense of humor. Darrell could say the most outrageous things and get away with them because of that smile and that twinkle in his eye. He was a wonderful man whom we greatly loved. Our hearts go out to Bob in what must be a horrific loss. Love, Barbara and Neil

  6. Mur Taylor says:

    We are so, so sad, but are remembering delightful experiences in Nova Scotia and here in N.C. with Bob and Gene. One of my favorites is riding in the back seat with Gene’s sister Jan at night traveling at seeming breakneck speed over the curves and hills of the area near their house in Nova Scotia. Gene and Bob, in the front seat, were listening to Sara Brightman at full volume. Both were dabbing at their eyes as they listened. Occasionally they would look at each other, smile and continue to listen and dab. Sweet.

    Thank you to Dick, Marlene and Diane for keeping us in the circle. Now we all turn to Bob with support and love.

    Mur

  7. Bill says:

    We will need some time to let this sink in. I told Bliss and just held her in my arms as she sobbed. She just kept saying, “please don’t tell me”. We will go down to Salty Dog Cottage, walk out on the wharf and try to come to terms. I wish we could be there to hug Bob. If you can, anyone, tell him we love him, please.
    Bill

  8. Chuck Cowger says:

    At some point I have to put away the tears and grief and focus on the fun and crazyness of this passionate and loving man. Though I’m not there yet, a few things stand out; For those who don’t know me, I’m Chuck, husband of Jan, Gene’s sister. Twenty one years ago Memorial Day when I made my first visit to Matherville to meet the family, I first noted the big sign attached to a tree in the front yard next to the road that said among other things “Welcome Chuck,…just remember you’re not blood.” Though Marlene was apparently responsible for that, Gene was not to be outdone. Standing on the front porch to greet us as Jan and I walked up, was Gene and Scott (Marlene’s son), with their flys open and their thumbs sticking out, and of course most everyone else gathered around doubled over in laughter. After everyone had their laugh, Gene, with that accepting smile that we all know so well, gave me a genuine bear hug and said “welcome to the family.” However, shortly thereafter everyone was sitting out in the yard and when Jan and I went out (I was wearing a white shirt and white pants) Gene ask me if I sold ice cream.. and I had just sat down when he said, “Are you staring at my crooked face?” When everyone roared, it of course took the pressure off. All this happened in a way that let me know that he cared deeply about Jan, but also he was accepting. I left that day feeling welcome in the family even though I “wasn’t blood.”

    Jan and I were fortunate to be a part of the Pittsburg brunch some 15 years ago when Gene had the family all dressed in spandex pants and florescent sun glasses as the guests arived and Gene made his grand entrance with a towell in his spandex. Mix this crazyness with his intense caring and commitment to those around him and you have the kind of person that we won’t see again…

    Bob, if you are reading this now or will some day, know that we love you. Peace be with you. I have noted that you are an important member of the family even though you too are not blood.

  9. Mary & Ernie Macar says:

    Dearest Bob and Friends,
    There are no words that we have to express the huge loss and felling of sadness in our hearts. Darrell adoped us lock, stock and barrel. He was there before Ernie & I were married, we spent the weekend swimming with Sue at Hidden Valley. We just hit it off. Darrell made us feel so special , like we belonged to his group of special friends from the start. Bob and I grew up together and we were friends for years and when I met Sue we reconnected. It was through Sue that we all bonded.The meals we shared at Mrs. Joseph’s, the fun, the jokes, the love, it was real! Darrell and Bob were there when we had our 2 sons;David and Matt both cried with us last night when we told them that Darrell died. The great effort that Darrell and Bob took to always call us and make sure that we got together each time they came home to Pittsburgh was such a gift. How blessed and lucky we have been to be part of a group of friends that we enjoyed and loved and never had to act a certain way around, no pretending, what fun times we shared. Darrell will be alive in hearts forever and we will honor him by never forgetting to share in our love or being more thoughtful. Bob we love you and know how hard this is for you. Please call us as soon as you feel like talking and we want to come down to help you with whatever you need. Love, Mary, Ernie, David, and Matthew

  10. Kathy & Gord says:

    I write this through sobs and selfish grief. I know that Darrell in now at peace and that he suffered too long but fought so hard. His passing leaves our world with a big hole. He was so full of life, humour and wisdom. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bob. I can write no more right now but will think often today of Darrell and his big presence in our lives.

  11. Dean S C Williams says:

    What a marvelous man! No one could light up the room like Darrell. A story about Darrell that he & I loved and would recall almost every time that we were together. The year was 1969. I had returned to Pittsburgh from Long Island to find a new boss at the Travelers. Darrell. Needless to say, he was a boss like I had never had. One of the first things that he had asked me to do was to drop him off at the airport. He said we could stop at his apartment & he would fix lunch. Lunch was a baloney sandwich & a joint. I knew right then & there that I was going to love this man! We often laughed about our “baloney sandwich and a ‘J’ lunch.
    Darrell had many positions with the Travelers and was much loved by his agents that he served well & uniquely. One of his final jobs was that of Chief Operations Office for the Great Lakes Region of the Travelers in Pittsburgh. He was the best one in the United States. His service & antics are remembered to this day.
    Again, what a marvelous man and friend. He is thoroughly missed by my wife, Pat, and I.

  12. Bliss says:

    This is so difficult to write.
    After a while of sobbing I said to Bill that I thought I was probably crying for myself as I knew now that Darrell was at peace. Our candle went out this morning.
    Bill and I have oh so many wonderful stories and memories of Bob and Darrell’s years here in Nova Scotia. We were so fortunate to be welcomed in a way, into the Miller clan with Bob and Darrell visiting us in Bedford on a number of occassions, then Marlene and Don joining them too and our visits to Tucson to both Marlene and Don and twice to Bob and Darrell’s. But I know that my Mother had a very special bond with both “boys”. She was amazed at Darrell knowing all the words to “Oh Canada”! Not!!!! And her ability to get away with asking Darrell if he had quit smoking and taken up eating doughnuts instead! Mum and Darrell had an amazing trip to Eastern Europe and they remained dear friends!
    Bill and I have made so many new friends here because of Bob and Darrell. And I was brought up here!
    There are so many things I will miss about Darrell…….need I say more?
    And Bob – you are so very special to us. Please don’t forget how much we love you. We really hope that some day you will want to come back to Salty Dog for a visit. We really do!
    I have looked at the Bay a number of times today and just get “verklempt”. I will never look at sunsets quite the same again.
    Love
    Bliss

  13. Darlene Barngrover says:

    There will never be another person in my life like Darrell. I was fortunate to work with him for many years and will always recall his incredibly quick wit and his wonderful way of telling a joke. Even after 20+ years just hearing the name Red Adair sends me into gales of laughter. Most importantly, though, I’ll remember Darrell for his kindness and his all-encompassing love for his family and friends. His passing will leave a hole in our hearts. My thoughts and prayers and with Bob.

  14. Betty Schindler says:

    DEAR BOB:

    I WANT TO EXTEND TO YOU MY DEEPEST SYMPATHY ON YOUR LOSS. I HAD THE HONOR OF WORKING WITH DARRELL FOR MANY YEARS AT TRAVELERS IN PITTSBURGH. HE WAS A VERY COMPASSONIATE, KIND MAN AND HIS SMILE COULD LIGHT UP A ROOM. I DON’T KNOW YOU, BUT I KNOW THAT YOU MUST BE A WONDERFUL PERSON FOR DARRELL TO HAVE WANTED YOU TO SHARE HIS LIFE.

    I KNOW THAT DARRELL LOVED TO COOK AND I CAN SEE HIM UP IN HEAVEN COOKING A FEAST FOR ALL THE ANGELS AND MAYBE THERE WILL BE SOME LEFT OVER FOR THE BIG GUY.

    WE MUST REMEMBER, GOD ONLY LENDS US HIS CHILDREN ON EARTH AND HE FELT THAT IT WAS TIME FOR HIS SON DARRELL TO COME HOME TO HIM IN HEAVEN.

    LOVE AND PEACE TO YOU AND TO ALL OF DARRELL’S FAMILY AND FRIENDS.

    AND

    BETTY SCHINDLER
    PITTSBURGH

  15. I now know what you all know from yesterday. I have appreciated so much your “blog” and your sharing of all the comments of others, and continuing report. I have the charity address I’ll share and tell other cousins I’ve been
    “shuttling” info to. I feel as though I’ve gotten to know
    the lot of you around ‘Gene and Bob and I know he knows
    everything now. I also know a cloud of welcoming angels
    and guides made it easier for him…and knowledge
    gatherer that he was…rejoices in knowing it all…
    Thanks again! Marchia Forber and his Aunt Margret.

  16. Judi Johnston Goodwin says:

    I met Darrell when he joined the Underwriting Dept. of the Travelers office in Pittsburgh.
    All that met him , knew what a fine fellow he was. He had this great gift , where he could change your day , that was filled with clouds and rain , into a day of SUNSHINE and RAINBOWS !

    You will be greatly missed-rest well Darrell .

    As always ,
    Judi Johnston Goodwin




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