E. Talmadge Darden

Published 7:16 pm Sunday, May 15, 2011

Edward Talmadge Darden, 54, of Carrsville, Virginia, went home to be with the Lord on Thursday, May 12, 2011.  His suffering on earth is now ended, and he is singing and rejoicing in Heaven.
Talmadge was the son of William Edward and Lillie Carr Darden, and was a lifelong resident of Carrsville.  He was a proud alumni of Carrsville Elementary School and a 1974 graduate of Windsor High School.  He graduated from Old Dominion University in 1979 with a Bachelors Degree in Education.  Talmadge continued his education with a Masters of Science Degree, graduating in 1984.  He began his service with Suffolk Public Schools in 1979 as a teacher at Southwestern Intermediate School.  His service to the students of Suffolk continued as Assistant Principal and Principal at Southwestern.  In 1990, Talmadge became the Principal of John Yeates Middle School until 2001 when he became the Principal of the newly constructed King?s Fork Middle School, fulfilling his lifelong dream to open a new school, and continues to serve as Principal of King?s Fork Middle School today.
Talmadge loved to drive the school bus.  He earned his way through college by driving a bus for Isle of Wight County Schools, and he never lost the passion for taking to the road on a bright yellow bus.  Many mornings and afternoons throughout his career he could be found on a bus picking up or taking students home.  This not only satisfied his love of driving the bus, but also allowed him to stay in touch with the communities which were served by his schools.
Talmadge was a devout Christian man who was baptized at Colosse Baptist Church, where he was active in the youth group and the church choir.  Talmadge was a talented musician who also served the Lord as Organist and Choir Director of Bethany Presbyterian Church for 21 years.  While he was at Bethany, he also served as an Elder, Clerk of the Session, and many committees.    He has served for the past 17 years as Director of Music at Suffolk Christian Church, where he also served on the kitchen renovation committee and the bus committee.  He attended the Young Adult Sunday School Class at Suffolk Christian Church.
Talmadge was known throughout the community as a chef extraordinaire.  His down home delicacies were a favorite with those who were fortunate enough to enjoy them.  He catered many church, school and community functions, all with Talmadge’s special touch.  Talmadge?s love for cooking began as a child, and he proudly cooked for the Carrsville Fire Department?s Annual Turkey Dinner for 45 years.
Talmadge had a passion for education that was unequaled.  The lives he touched throughout Suffolk are immeasurable.  As a teacher and principal, he saw the potential within each and every child that passed through his school.  There was no greater joy for Talmadge than for his students to be successful in life.  He was the recipient of numerous honors throughout his career in education, including 1981 Southwestern Teacher of the Year and was Suffolk Public Schools’ first recipient of the STAR employee recognition award in January 2002.  He was a member of the Virginia Association of Secondary Principals for over 25 years.   He was a former member of the Zuni Ruritan Club and served in numerous capacities at both the local and regional levels.
In addition to his parents, he is survived by special friends, his chosen family, Robert M. Butler, Jr. of Carrsville, Karen L. Brickey and Sidney A. Neighbours, both of Portsmouth; special cousin/sister Earlene Johnson Griffin and husband Joe of Suffolk, Robert Johnson, Jr. and wife Pat of Suffolk, Earl R. Johnson & wife Amanda of Carrsville; A. C. Darden & wife Carolyn of Carrsville, VA; step-grandmother Mildred Darden of Carrsville; an aunt, Evelyn Darden of Carrsville, and many other cousins from both the Carr and Darden families.  He is also survived by a multitude of special friends in his church family, school family, and throughout the community.  He was predeceased by James Parker, also a special part of his chosen family.
A Celebration of Talmadge’s Life will be held on Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 7:00 pm at Suffolk Christian Church with Rev. Michael D. Halley and Rev. Dolan A. Talbert officiating.  Visitation will be held at the church prior to the service from 5:00 ? 7:00 p.m.  Burial will be held Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 4:00 p.m. at Southampton Memorial Park, Franklin, with Rev. Steve Bradshaw and Rev. Michael D. Halley presiding.  A reception will be held at Suffolk Christian Church following the burial service.  His special friends and family will receive visitors at other times at the residence of Joe and Earlene Griffin.  Memorial donations may be made to Suffolk Christian Church Music Fund, P. O. Box 1457, Suffolk, VA, 23439.  Condolences may be registered online at www.parrfuneralhome.com