Mrs. Norma E. Darling, beloved neighbor in Santa Cruz from 1986 to 2001, died on February 22 in Lodi, California. She was born Norma Evelyn Easton, the daughter of Oris and Elsie Easton in Toledo, Illinois, one of a family of five sisters and two brothers.
She was a graduate of Toledo Senior High School in 1933 where she sang the commencement solo the same day she married C. Eugene Darling, a teacher of her sisters in the Toledo School District. Together they shared 68 years serving in the United Methodist ministry, Boy Scouts, and many church and community endeavors.
After retirement in Illinois, she and her husband moved to California where they lived in San Francisco, Upper Lake, Sacramento and Santa Cruz. She moved to Lodi upon the death of her husband and was much loved at Arbor Senior Apartments and Arbor Place for nine years, and a faithful member of the Isleton Community United Methodist Church.
Her first love and primary vocation was her family. She was President of Illinois Conference United Methodist Women, sold Highlights Magazines, provided short-term care for expectant mothers, sang in her church choir, cooked delightful meals every day of her life, read mysteries, enjoyed playing cards. She was a member of Democratic Women's Club and a strong and vocal advocate of political and community work for human justice and care. Norma never met a stranger, was loved by many people who knew her well and respected by those she barely met, a fierce defender of anyone left with the short end of the stick.
The Darlings lived in their Santa Cruz home longer than any of other home in Illinois and California.
Living sons are Steven of Lodi, Darrell of Santa Cruz, Lowell of Santa Cruz, and Paul of Portland. Norma was the grandmother of nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. She lost her first son, Gregory, in childbirth. She loved her daughters-in-law as her own daughters, her allies in holding her own against any hint of male dominance, along with her sisters Barbara and Carolyn in Illinois and Onda in Virginia. Brothers, Jesse and Bennett, and sister, Delores, preceeded her in death.
Following a delightful 95th birthday celebration with her family on January 10, content with a full and gracious life of some struggle and emmense amount of joy, Norma quickly released herself to the goodness at the heart of the universe.
A memorial service was held at the Darling House, 314 West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz on Sunday, February 28, at 3:30 P.M.