James “Jim” Harrison Darnell, 78, passed away peacefully, with family at his side Saturday, January 27, 2024, at his home in Hendersonville, NC.
Jim was born August 21, 1945 in Henderson County and was a lifelong resident of the area. He was 1 of 5 children. As the oldest of the male children, Jim often assumed the role of being the “man of the house” when his dad was away for work. He also began working in the tomato and bean fields at the early age of 8 years old. Jim learned quickly how to “take care of himself”. This helped him become the hard working, honest, loyal and Christian man that he was. Jim was the one you could always depend on if you needed help.
At 16, Jim met the love of his life. Little did he know that 3 years later she would say “I do” and the next chapter of their lives would begin. He and Emily spent the next 59 years together and raised 2 sons. Jim was employed at General Electric, where he ran the engineering lab, for 34 years. After retiring he volunteered at Clear Creek Elementary where he spent many hours working with special needs students. He also drove a bus for many of the Henderson County schools.
Jim’s love of children was very evident when it came to his family. He always found time to attend his children’s and eventually grandchildren’s/great grandchildren’s school, sports, music, and dance activities. He was also known to go pick up the occasional lunch and take it to one of the grandsons at school simply because they didn’t like what was being served at school. After retiring, he became a coach for his grandsons’ shooting teams. He was influential in not only their lives and education on the range, but countless other kids. His dedication to the sport and the kids lasted for several years beyond his grandsons’ time on the team.
Due to his own life struggles, Jim was led to mentor others through the Celebrate Recovery program at Biltmore Baptist Church. He served for several years during which time he helped others find their way and grow closer to the Lord. He felt privileged to serve at Balfour Baptist Church as a deacon and Sunday school director. Jim was also a fixture in the kitchen during Bible School where he helped and kept the ladies in line. It was his delight to always fix a ham for those times when people were in need of comfort and support. Everyone always thought Emily was the one who fixed the hams until the cat was let out of the bag!
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Mac and Louise Bradley Darnell, sisters Linda McCall, Nancy Gibbs, and Mary Ann Darnell and brother John Darnell.
Jim is survived by his wife Emily of more than 59 years along with 2 sons Rusty (Stephanie) and Phillip (Lisa). He is also survived by 6 grandchildren; Stephen (Rachel), William (Rebecca), Patrick (Courtney), Peyton, Carlie Floyd (Sabrina) and Benjamin Floyd (Kelsey) and 9 great grandchildren; Audrey, Allie, Mason, Lilly, Wrenley (arriving in May), Charlton, Aidan, Christian, Avery, as well as several nieces and nephews. He has too many friends and family to mention, but know that he loved and appreciated you.
Jim was simply the best husband, dad/pop, and Grandad ever and he will be greatly missed.
Visitation will be held on Tuesday, January 30 from 1:00 – 2:00 pm at Balfour Baptist Church with a funeral service to follow beginning at 2:00 pm. Burial will be at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hendersonville at the conclusion of the service.
Pallbearers are: Stephen Darnell, William Darnell, Patrick Darnell, Matt Bradley, Baron Gibbs, “little” Donnie Heatherly. Honorary pallbearers are: Donnie Heatherly, Russ Branche, Robbie Crain, and the Deacons of Balfour Baptist Church
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Balfour Baptist Church, Hendersonville, NC.
The family would like to thank everyone and express their deepest appreciation for all the love and support during this time. They would especially like to thank Dr. Randy Tryon for being by their side every step of the way and for the love and care he has shown Jim and Emily over the last 38 years. The family would also like to thank Dr. Kim and his staff at Grace Hematology for their care and support during the last year of Jim’s life. The family feels truly blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful people.