Anna Jean Darby, formerly of Alice, Texas, passed away peacefully on Sunday, August 25, 2019. She was in a hospice facility in Chandler, Arizona for the past week having suffered a significant stroke.
She had been living with her niece, Leigh Pettit and nephew-in-law, Farrell Pettit, since April 2014 in Mesa, Arizona. She is also survived by a grand-nephew Chad Wilson, his wife Marsha Wilson, great-grand nephew, Luke Wilson, great-grand nieces, Alamay Wilson, Delani Wilson and Everlee Wilson, all of Mesa, Arizona.
Jean, as she preferred to be called, was born on May 11, 1929 to parents, Ozelle Bennett Darby and Frances Edwin Smith Darby in Whitesboro, Texas. Her father was an evangelist of the Baptist faith and the family lived in Texas and Oklahoma during her childhood. She received her bachelor’s degree in physical education from Mary Hardin Baylor University in Belton, Texas, and her master’s degree in physical education at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
She started teaching school in Orange Grove in the late 1960's. It was there she made treasured and lasting friendships. After a year, she took a position in the Alice School District and continued until her retirement. She was known for teaching P.E., coaching girls sports, along with cheerleading and drill team, she also taught history and health classes. Drivers Education was her after-school and summer job. She had quite the stories to tell about kids learning to drive! Many memories were hers to cherish during school sports outings and bus trips, often she mentioned she couldn't have done it without the help of the "kids" moms being at the games or events. In 1989, she was commissioned to write a book, "Alice: A Centennial History" in conjunction with the city of Alice centennial celebration.
Jean loved the outdoors, sports, and her pet Boxers and Dachshunds. She said, after she moved to Arizona in 2014, that she could finally do the things she wanted to do; being around family, celebrating holidays with them, reading Tom Clancy novels, working jig-saw puzzles, playing solitaire uninterrupted! She loved getting her newspaper each morning and planning her TV schedule each day. When asked if she'd like to get out for a bit, often she'd refuse because she might miss the "Spurs" playing or another game. Once in a while, we would take her out to a high school volleyball game and she'd be coaching out loud from the stands! That was cute to see!
She had a heart of gold and will be dearly missed - we already feel the void in our home. I'm grateful for her kindness, love and example to me and my family. She lived a good and wonderful life and we all are happy for her return home to the family she so dearly loved and missed including her parents, her sister and brother-in-law, James and Laverne Kimbell, and her niece, Lisa Kimbell. We love you Auntie Jean!
Graveside Service will be private. As were her wishes, Anna Jean Darby will be laid to rest at Waco Memorial Cemetery in Waco, Texas.
Arrangements are entrusted to Holmgreen Mortuary, 2061 E. Main St., Alice, Texas.
Condolences for the family may be offered at www.holmgreenmortuaryinc.com and shared via Holmgreen Mortuary Facebook.
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