Dr. Dale E. Darnell, 87, of Prairie Village, KS passed away February 6, 2022. Dale was born May 5, 1934, in Culver, KS to Paul and Helen (Overturf) Darnell and was the oldest of four children.
After high school, with few prospects, he planned to get a job as a truck driver in Plainville, Kansas. Instead, he was awarded an academic scholarship to the University of Kansas. So, when the time came, he hitchhiked to Lawrence with a suitcase, a few dollars in his pocket, and no idea where he would sleep that night.
Another young man heading back to college at KU saw Dale on the side of the road with his thumb out, picked him up and brought him to Lawrence and the Beta Theta Pi fraternity where Dale was asked to become a pledge. With the good fortune of an unexpected roof over his head he began his college education. Dale always expressed gratitude to the Beta house which he credited with getting him through his undergraduate classes and putting him on the path to becoming a doctor.
After college he married Pam Barron, former KU cheerleader and the ultimate love of his life.
Dale enlisted in the Navy and became a flight surgeon where, among other things, he got to fly in jets launched from aircraft carriers! After the military he studied orthopedic surgery at Baylor College of Medicine. He finally settled into Prairie Village, KS, with his family, where he practiced medicine as a partner with the Midwest Orthopedic Clinic for the rest of his professional career.
In later years he, Pam, and their cats and dogs, split their time between Kansas and a mountain home they built in Redstone, Colorado, where they expanded their already extensive list of lifelong friends.
Dale was a renaissance man.
He loved sports of all kinds, both playing and watching. He was the Jayhawks #1 fan. He coached his sons football teams.
He loved his family and was an amazing father to his children. He never missed his kids games, recitals, and other events, even if it meant he had to take off from work.
He was a musician on the trumpet, piano, guitar, voice and harmonica.
He was a Harley Davidson motorcycle enthusiast and even road his "hog" all the way to Alaska and back with his nephew, Tom.
He created art on paper and canvas with oils and pastels.
He carved blocks of wood into bears and bighorn sheep. He turned wooden burls on his lathe to make beautiful pens, bowls, and vases.
He fixed his own fences and lawn mowers.
He was a committed philanthropist and donated every year to his alma mater, his church, and dozens of charities.
He knew how to have fun, how to smile, and would drive an hour to buy a 79-cent steel washer if there was the possibility of a good conversation with a salesclerk.
His motto, that he applied to both lawn mower repair and life in general, was: "If it doesnt go easy, youre not doing it right."
His wife, Pam, was a physical therapist; so is Dales daughter and his daughter-in-law. After Pam passed, Dale endowed a scholarship in Pams name to help other future therapists pay for their education.
Dale is survived by his children, Eric Darnell and wife Laura, Rachel Miller, Michael Darnell and wife Stacey; grandchildren, Rex, Leah, Caroline, Kate and Chloe; brothers, David Darnell and wife Myrlene, and Dean Darnell; and his sister, Patricia Mayhew and her husband Bill. He was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Pamela J. Darnell and his parents.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the "Pamela J. Darnell PT Fund" at the KU Endowment Association, PO Box 928, Lawrence, KS 66044.
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