Joan Darling, 1935-2016

Published 9:34 am Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Joan Lavone Darling, 81, passed away Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, at St. John’s Lutheran Community. A celebration of life and graveside memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Concordia Lutheran Cemetery. The Rev. Wendy Anderson will officiate. Online condolences are welcome at   

Joan Darling

Joan Darling

Joan was born in Albert Lea on Oct. 24, 1935, the daughter of Carl and Burnette Behrends. Joan was baptized, confirmed and married at Concordia Lutheran Church of Pickerel Lake. In her youth she enjoyed teaching Sunday school, gardening and canning with her mother, and was active in 4-H. She enjoyed playing piano and button accordion. Her love of music followed her all her life, as she entertained at countless friend and family gatherings. Joan graduated from Albert Lea High School and continued her education at Mankato State University. 

On Aug. 19, 1956, she was united in marriage to Robert Darling, of this union three sons were born. They made the Mankato area their home. Joan waitressed for many years and worked at the Mankato Area Chamber of Commerce until 1980. She then moved to Walnut, California, and served as the executive vice president at La Habra Chamber of Commerce until her retirement in 1993. 

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She loved spending time with her grandchildren, golfing, entertaining and dancing.  Joan was active in the Portola Country Club and volunteering in the Palm Desert area. Joan had a flare for wild earrings and red lipstick. She had a personality plus and a beautiful, infectious smile. She will be greatly missed by family and friends. She would affectionately call all whom she loved her “Tu-Tu Bumps!” She loved putting a smile on their faces. 

Joan is survived by five grandchildren, Kristine, Melissa, Julie, Fred and Samantha; five great-grandchildren; brother, Warren Behrends; special friend, Hank Nagel; and many nieces and nephews. 

Joan was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Darling; sons Jody, Mike and Randy Darling; sister, Ida Mildenstein; and sister-in-law, Almira Behrends. 

Memorials are preferred to Concordia Lutheran Church of Pickerel Lake. 

The family’s sincere, heartfelt thanks goes to Knutson Place and St. John’s staff for the loving and compassionate care given to Joan over the past six years.