Ella J. Darden

Published 10:47 am Thursday, September 22, 2016

AHOSKIE, NC – Ella “Lella” Lancaster Jones Darden left this earthly life on Sunday, September 18, 2016 at her home in Ahoskie.

Lella was born June 11, 1927 in Riverton, NC to Joseph Henry Jones, Sr. and Euphemia Watson Jones. She was reared in Boiling Springs, NC, and spent her summers in Riverton, NC, a small community along the Lumbee River in Scotland County, populated almost exclusively with relatives. Lella was very proud of her family and stayed connected with them throughout her life. She continued to attend the July 4 and Labor Day family reunion picnics in Riverton for as long as she was able to travel.

She attended Gardner-Webb College, and then graduated from NC Baptist Hospital School of Nursing in Winston-Salem in 1948. While in nursing school, she met a young medical student, Jim Darden, and they were married in 1948. They settled in Ahoskie in 1957, where she became active in the community. Lella was a member of the First Baptist Church of Ahoskie, and was a committed member of the choir and handbell choir for years. She served on the board of the Gallery Theater, and performed in a number of productions as well. She worked tirelessly for the Roanoke-Chowan Hospital Auxiliary, Hospice, and Meals on Wheels. She was former co-chairman of the Hertford County Red Cross Bloodmobile. In recognition of her service to hospice, in 2003, she was a recipient of the NC Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service. Lella was also a member of the NC Museum of History Associates.

Lella was warm, gracious, loving and fun. She had a way of making others feel special. As a mother, her gentle guidance was ever present. Always a fabulous cook, Lella’s children and grandchildren have many fond memories of times in the kitchen with her, often waiting to “lick the bowl” or watching the oven for something yummy to come out. She loved to play bridge and continued to play into her eighties.

Emerald Isle was a happy place for her. She loved having her family and grandchildren visit, and regularly took groups of friends for bridge, food, laughter — all of the best things in life! She loved to travel, and enjoyed theater trips to New York.

Lella was predeceased by her husband, James Lee Darden, Jr., in 1999; and by her brothers, Joseph H. Jones in 1944, Dan Watson Jones in 1991, and Robert S. Jones, Sr. in 2014.

She is survived by three children, Deborah Darden Ware (Richard), Charlotte Darden Miller (Mill) and James Lee Darden III (Linda); and six grandchildren, Donald Ware (Ann), Laura Ware Adlington (Edward), Ellen Miller, Daniel Miller, Emma Darden and Jay Darden.

The family would like to thank Cathy Speight and her team of caregivers for their devotion and loving care during our Mother’s last years.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 24 at 1:00 pm at the First Baptist Church of Ahoskie with visitation in the Fellowship Hall immediately following the service. Rev. Anita Thompson will be officiating the service.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made directly to Vidant Home Health & Hospice or to First Baptist Church of Ahoskie. Donations may be made online to Vidant Home Health and Hospice or First Baptist Church of Ahoskie by visiting www.tmcfunding.com/search and type Lella Darden.

Garrett-Sykes Funeral Service – Ahoskie Chapel is handling the arrangements for the Darden family and online condolences can be directed to the family by visiting www.garrettsykesfs.com.