It is with profound regret that we acknowledge the passing of Reverend Darrell Darling, our long-time friend, fellow Executive Committee member of the NAACP, and civil rights activist. His stalwart, kind, and intelligent presence has provided unwavering support and direction in helping to build a Beloved Community in Santa Cruz.
Rev. Darling passed away in his home very peacefully surrounded by his family on the morning of February 3, 2022. He is survived by his wife Karen Darling; daughter Denise Wyldbore and son-in law, James Campbell; granddaughter Kylie and her husband Gabriel. He is preceded in death by his beloved sons, Matthew and Adam.
Rev. Darling graduated from Yale Divinity School in the 1960s and was later ordained in the Illinois United Methodist Conference. In his role as a community minister Rev. Darrell Darling, along with his whole family, answered Dr. King’s call to the Selma, Alabama campaign for voting rights in 1965, joining in the historical Selma-Montgomery march. His pastoral service included: serving in churches in Illinois, New York, and Connecticut; starting churches in Pleasanton and Dublin, California; and pastoring at Davis United Methodist Church for seven years. Rev. Darling served the First United Methodist Church of Santa Cruz from 1978 to 1983.
After leaving the ministry, Darrell and Karen Darling operated the Darling House Bed and Breakfast on West Cliff Drive from 1984–2017. Darrell loved meeting and conversing about life and politics with guests. Darrell and Karen offered the Darling House in community ministry, hosting many fundraising events for justice-led political candidates and organizations. They also contributed to the work of RCNV by providing support and hospitality to guests involved in nonviolent struggles around the world. The Darling House supported the Santa Cruz Sister Cities program, and hosted the Alushta, Crimea mayor’s delegation in 1989 when the Loma Prieta earthquake struck.
Rev. Darling was a lifetime member of the NAACP. He served on the Executive Committee for many years. He served on the board and steering committee of the Resource Center for Nonviolence. He served as Chair of the local Democratic Party Central Committee and supported the Palestine Justice Coalition.We will forever miss his physical presence and will seek to honor his memory by upholding the principles of love, nonviolence, peace and justice that he courageously emulated.