Darden dies at 73

Published 11:10 am Thursday, May 7, 2009

COURTLAND—Funeral services for Russell Edward Darden, a longtime member of Sons of Confederate Veterans, are set for 2 p.m. Friday at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

Darden, 73, died suddenly on Tuesday as the result of a fall at home, said longtime friend Tommy Simmons, commander of the Urquhart-Gillette SCV chapter.

“We are very shocked and saddened at the sudden and most untimely loss of our dear friend and compatriot,” Simmons said. “He was an inspiration to all who knew or ever came in contact with him. He certainly will be missed.”

Darden, an Army veteran, was retired from Union Camp Corporation and charter commander of the Urquhart-Gillette camp. He also was past commander of the Army of Northern Virginia SCV.

According to SCV records, Darden joined the group when he was 18 in September 1952.

“He was always working for the betterment of the organization,” said Bryan Sharp, national membership coordinator. “If you needed anything, all you had to do was ask Russell. He was the kind of member I wish we had 100 of. He will be sadly missed.”

Simmons said Darden will be memorialized with a Confederate funral and three-gun salute and Taps.

Darden was a life member of the Virginia Jaycees, an Eagle Scout and Scout Master of Troop 28, Vigil honor-Order of the Arrow and Silver Beaver recipient. A member of the Archaeological Society of Virginia, he served as past state president and state treasurer and was a charter member of the Point Lookout Descendent Organization.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Frances (Pam) Phelps Darden; two daughters, Elizabeth D. Francis and husband, Keith, of Sedley and Kathryn D. Holland and husband, Chris, of Hillsboro, Oregon; a son, Robert E. Darden and wife, Shelia, of Courtland; a sister, Delight D. Andrews and husband, Glen, of Rocky Mt., NC; eight grandchildren, Walt and Sarah Francis, Rachael and Rebecca Holland, and Taylor Ann, Robb Jr., Hunter and Alexandra Darden.

The family will receive friends today from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Wright Funeral Home in Franklin and suggests memorials be made to the Mahone Tavern and Museum Inc., P.O. Box 565, Courtland, VA 23837, the Courtland Fire and Rescue Squad or a favorite charity.