JUNE 27, 1943 – AUGUST 4, 2021
Mary Donellan Darby, 78, entered into the peace of heaven on the evening of March 4, at Lane Senior Care in Zachary, La., where she had been residing for the past six months because of advanced dementia. Although her world was clouded and confused she still took joy in the love of her family members and enjoyed receiving almost daily letters and old photos from her husband, Joe Darby. Mary was born in Derby, England on June 27, 1943. She was the daughter of an English war bride, Ada Dimmock, and an American GI, James Donellan. After World War II was over, Ada brought her three-year-old Mary to the United States, where the new family settled in Baton Rouge. Mary attended St. Anthony elementary and high schools and graduated from Istrouma High School in 1961. Mary was a very devout Catholic, having remained so from childhood. She relied on her faith to help her get through difficult times in life. She married and raised her three beloved children, Charles, Ronald and Shannon Alleman. After her children were grown, she obtained a licensed practical nurse degree and practiced for several years then went on to become a licensed professional counselor, with a bachelor’s and two master’s degrees. She specialized in family counseling, anger management, juvenile care and other aspects of counseling. She had private practices in East Baton Rouge, Jefferson and Natchitoches parishes. She also worked as a counselor for the Jefferson Parish Juvenile Services Department. Mary also made several professional presentations to students and faculty at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, her topics ranging from drug abuse to eating disorders. While in high school, Mary had met and dated Joe Darby. It was not yet time for them but after going their separate ways and raising their own families, they reunited in 1999 and were married in 2000. Joe retired from the New Orleans Times-Picayune in 2006 and they moved to Natchitoches to spend their remaining golden years. And golden years, they were. Mary and Joe traveled, dined out often, shared interests in history, attending baseball games, the theater and symphony concerts. They enjoyed a rich, loving life. She also enjoyed the love of their dogs, and there were always one or two pups in their care. Mary also loved to garden, planting flowers, bushes and trees and watching them grow. She had a huge collection of dozens of stuffed animals, most of them teddy bears, ranging in height from a couple of inches to a couple of feet. When she was younger, she was an avid walker, walking a mile or more every day. She had undergone triple bypass heart surgery in 2010 but recovered well and enjoyed years of good health. Signs of her dementia began to become obvious a few years ago, but she lived each day as best she could.
Visitation will be held at Greenoaks Funeral Home on Wednesday, August 11 from 5:00pm-8:00pm. Visitation will resume at Greenoaks Funeral Home Thursday, August 12 from 1:00pm until service time of 2:00pm.
A Memorial Service will be conducted at St. Denis Funeral Home from 6 to 8 p.m. today, Monday.
Mary was widely admired by many family members and friends and several have commented that she was a beautiful woman, inside and out.
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