Lila Leona Ridings Darnell

lila darnell

Lila Leona Ridings Darnell was born just outside of Greenville, IL, on January 24, 1944, and passed away in Orlando, FL, on Dec. 2, 2015. Raised as the youngest of eight children in the rolling wooded hills of the rural Terrapin Ridge area, Lila grew up just down the hill from Mt. Nebo Primitive Baptist Church which she, her family and all the families of the other area homesteaders attended. As older parents, her strict father and mother were a little softer on their baby girl than they'd been with her older siblings. Her father Urban Lee was a millwright in the steel mills of Granite City who loved reading and discussing the Bible, and he was a gifted writer. Her mother Beatrice cooked, sewed and quilted a wonderful if simple life for her family on Terrapin Ridge. "Lila Lee" was married in 1961, before graduating from high school in 1962. The following year, her son Scott Alan became the pride and joy of his parents and their large, loving family. The young Darnells traveled much in pursuit of work, settling briefly in Iowa and Florida in-between return moves to Greenville. Roger Kent joined the troop in 1966. Having received the writing gift from her father, Lila learned to tap the well often as a means for dealing with life's joys, challenges and hardships. In 1974, she became a single-mother, raising two very active boys while navigating a career as an administrator and finding her way to independence. As her boys grew into men, her blood, sweat and tears were all set down in volumes of verses, many of which were destroyed and buried along with the more difficult memories. What remained was a strong mother and an independent woman, who enjoyed a special solace and strength every day from her sons, and eventually her daughter-in-law Beth, her beloved grandchildren (Amelia May Darnell, '01, and Riley Kent Darnell, '03), her cats, and legions of family members and extended friends whose birthdays and special occasions were always remembered and honored with timely Hallmark keepsakes, emails, texts and/or Facebook postings. An accomplished construction, engineering and hospitality industry administrator who retired from Parsons Brinckerhoff in 2010 after 19 years, Lila used writing as a therapy throughout her life's journey. In 2003, she became the first mother to illuminate life during her son Scott's spinal cord injury and recovery. Her autobiographical book "The Ghost Behind the Wheelchair" was endorsed by a world authority on spinal injury rehab, who referred to it as being "like a support group in a package," and "must reading" for families of the spinal injured and the health pros that work with them. That writing experience ultimately helped mother and son adapt well to a difficult path, and the book continues helping others in similar circumstances do the same. Lila is survived by her sister Galda Burcham of Gallatin, TN, her brothers Bud and James Ridings of Greenville, IL, her sons Scott Darnell of Greenville, IL, her son and daughter-in-law Roger and Beth Darnell of Asheville, NC, and her grandchildren Amelia and Riley, also of Asheville, NC. Lila's family will receive friends from 4-8 pm on Saturday, Dec. 19, at Young's Funeral Home in Greenville. A funeral and short graveside service will be held at Mt. Nebo Primitive Baptist Church at 1:30 pm on Sunday, Dec. 20. Her burial will be alongside her loving parents and her "baby brother" Roy Ridings in Mt. Nebo's cemetery. In lieu of flowers, Lila's family will greatly appreciate donations to your local Humane Society.


Sunday, December 20, 2015 at 1:30 PM

Mt. Nebo Primitive Baptist Church


Saturday, December 19, 2015 from 4-8 PM

Young Funeral Home

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  1. I was shocked and sorry to hear of Lila's passing. I remember having some good times with her in GHS band. She was a pretty good Sax Player. I have told many of my friends her story about getting married as a Junior in High School, but still continued her education. She was a neat kid in HS, and I'm sure that carried over as an adult. I pray that God will bring peace to the family at this time. R. Sturgill, Stockton CA

  2. Lila such a sweet and loving friend and co-worker. Loved her stories, her writings and cards she would send me and I am sure she did to many she loved. Lila you will be missed but not forgotten. Until we meet again in heaven – our Heavenly Father has you in His arms. My thoughts and prayers are with your family and friends.

  3. I will miss Lila very much.Wee have only been close the last few years and I well miss her encouraging emails.

  4. So very sorry for your lost. How much we look forward to seeing our dead loved ones alive again. Words cannot express the unwanted void death brings when we lose a family member or close friend. I fine great comfort from the scriptures, because it tells us that death was not part of God's original purpose. Our loving father Jehovah God has also taken steps to bring back to reality his original purpose and he has guaranteed it by sending his son Jesus to die for all of us. Our King Jesus Christ by means of his precious blood has provided a ransom that releases us so that we can have a relationship with God with the prospect of everlasting life. As Acts 24:15 says,"there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and unrighteous." May you fine strength and peace. Your friend and neighbor.

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