Donald Robert Darling, M.D., of Carbondale, went to his eternal rest on Sunday, August 1, 2021, at Parkway Manor in Marion, at the age of 90.
He was born on October 30, 1930, in Chicago, the second child and oldest son of Laura Rogerson Darling and Robert Robertson Darling. He attended Fenger High School on Chicago’s south side, where he participated on the swim team, was editor of the school newspaper, and was a violinist and concertmaster in the orchestra.
After high school, a last-minute twist of fate brought him, sight unseen, to tiny Blackburn College in Carlinville, IL. Don was always proud to be a Blackburn Beaver. He majored in chemistry and participated in school theater productions. He was selected to be both Student Marshal and Valedictorian for his class, as well as graduating third in his class, two spots behind the lovely Betty Jane Brooks, whom he would marry on August 21, 1954, at First United Methodist Church in Vandalia. Betty and Don were happily married for over 60 years, until her death in 2015.
Don attended medical school at Washington University in St. Louis beginning in the fall of 1952. After residencies and internships in Chicago, Dr. Darling served in the United States Air Force from 1960 through 1962 as a military physician with the rank of Captain at George AFB in Victorville, California.
In 1962, Don accepted a position in general medicine at the Carbondale Clinic. He expanded his expertise to include hematology and oncology and proudly served at the Clinic until his retirement in 1999. He became known throughout southern Illinois as a cancer specialist and served the entire region at a time when local oncologists were a rarity.
In 1968, Don and Betty built a home at 2603 Sunset Drive which has recently been named a landmark by the City of Carbondale. Due to its unique architecture and his contributions to the community, it is now listed on the Carbondale Register of Historic Places.
Donald Darling served his community as a member of the Lions Club and as a board member of the YMCA of Jackson County. He also served as a lecturer at the College of Medicine at SIU. He and Betty were long and faithful members of the First Presbyterian Church of Carbondale, where he sang in the choir. We know he is singing again today.
Left to cherish his memory are his children, Ann Elizabeth Darling of Herrin; John Brooks Darling (Maurena) of Centerville, Maryland; James Robert Darling (Sophie) of Falls Church, Virginia; and William Thomas Darling (Jill) of Worthington, Ohio. He leaves 13 grandchildren grateful to have known him: Lindsay Casolari (Mark) and Brooks Robinson; Brianna Garmane (Trevor) and Arianna Darling, Camille Darling, Sabine Darling, and Noelle Darling, and Albert Darling, Isabelle Darling, David Darling, Caroline Darling, Justin Darling and Mary Darling; and eight great-grandchildren. Also surviving him are his brothers Richard Darling (Carol) and Bruce Darling (Ruth).
He was also preceded in death by his big sister, Lois Jean, who passed away before he was born. Their meeting is a comfort to us all.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing to honor his memory can do so by making a donation to the charity of their choice or by donating to Blackburn College, c/o Alumni Development, 700 College Avenue, Carlinville, Illinois, 62626.
Meredith Funeral Home of Carbondale is in charge of arrangements. There will be a public visitation at First Presbyterian Church of Carbondale from 1:00 – 2:00 on Saturday, August 7, 2021, followed by a funeral service in the sanctuary.
To view the online streaming of the service, please Click here .