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Mr.  Richard  H. Darnell

Obituary for Mr. Richard H. Darnell

February 14, 1942 - October 31, 2018
Edmond, Oklahoma | Age 76


Richard Hamlin Darnell, age 76, of Edmond, OK, passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family on Wednesday, October 31, 2018. Richard was born February 14, 1942, in Greenwood, MS, to William Franklin Darnell, Jr. and Jeanette Hamlin Darnell. He was the third of four boys who were raised on cotton plantations in the Mississippi Delta, which their father managed. He earned his Eagle Scout in 1957 and graduated from West Tallahatchie High School in 1959.

He is a 1963 graduate of the University of Mississippi, where he was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity, and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. This was followed by seven years active duty service including two tours in Vietnam, serving with MACV and I Corp. In 1968, between Vietnam tours, as an Army Infantry Captain, he was assigned to the Chicago National Guard as a special advisor during the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy and during the Democratic National Convention. He also served as Survivor Notification Officer to families with servicemen killed in Vietnam. He received several service awards, including the Bronze Star Medal and Combat Infantry Badge.

Resigning his commission in 1970, he went home to the Mississippi Delta where he had spent his childhood. He returned to Ole Miss for graduate school before beginning a career with a state development office recruiting industry to Mississippi. The first company he recruited hired him to build a new manufacturing plant and run it when completed. He was then transferred to Philadelphia to run two paper mills located on the Brandywine River. Later career stops moved Richard and his family from Pennsylvania, to Illinois, to Sweden, to Texas and finally Oklahoma. He retired in 2012 as Senior Vice President and General Manager of SemaSys, Inc., ending a manufacturing career that lasted more than 40 years.

In 1972, Richard's brother, David, introduced him to Nancy, and it was love at first sight. Four months later they married. They celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary quietly at home on Oct. 7, 2018. Richard and Nancy have four children, six grandchildren and a dachshund named Max.

Richard was chairman of the Westminster Presbyterian Church Foundation at the time of his death. He also served as an elder, deacon, Stephen Minister and Stephen Leader at Westminster and participated in several committees. Richard served as a member of Vets With A Mission, a Christian Humanitarian Organization founded by Vietnam Veterans 30 years ago, providing forgiveness and reconciliation to Vietnam Veterans and the Vietnamese People. In 2011, he participated in his first mission trip, then again in 2014 with his daughter, Taylor, and most recently in 2016 with his daughter, JennyLee.

Richard's activities revolved around his children, grandchildren, friendships, church, genealogy, travelling, mission work, Maple Lawn Farm, VWAM, and being a faithful servant of Jesus Christ. He lived his life by these words, "Let your life be an example to others. Go and preach Christ, and if you must, use words."

He is survived by his wife, Nancy Darnell, their children Richard H. Darnell, Jr., (wife Cindy) of White Heath, IL, JennyLee Darnell Crider (husband Randy) of San Antonio, TX, and Taylor Hamlin Darnell McMillan (husband Matt) of Houston, TX. He also leaves Katharine Darnell O'Connor (husband Gerard) of Atlanta, GA, from his first marriage. Grandchildren are Jackson Richard Crider, Caleb Jean Crider and Kennedy Morgan Crider; Nathan Emmitt Crews Darnell, Alexander Hamlin Dee Darnell; and William Lyons McMillan. Richard will be forever remembered by his younger brother, David Stephen Darnell, (wife Mildred) of Ocean Springs, MS, sisters-in-law, Betty Lin Darnell and Karen Darnell, cousin Jeanne Elizabeth Shields, his numerous nieces, nephews, extended family and dear friends. He is preceded in death by his parents and older brothers, William Franklin Darnell III and Charles L. Darnell.

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In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Vets With a Mission.
1) If giving by check, make it payable to Vets With A Mission and note on memo line "Richard Darnell". Mail to "VWAM, Attn: Joette, POB 202, Newberry, SC 29108-0202".
2) If giving online, go to, and make a donation on any page at the donation link/button. After making donation online, send an email to with the subject line "Richard Darnell".

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • Contributions may be made in memory of Richard Darnell
  • Vets With A Mission
    PO Box 202
    Attn: Jolene
    Newberry, SC 29108-0202

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