Your community matters

Douglas Allen Darch

Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.


Douglas Allen Darch, 92, passed away June 17.

He was born in a snowstorm April 19, 1927, to Elfreida Elizabeth Kolbe and Fredrich Darch in Lakewood, Ohio. His father passed away when he was four. He grew up with his sister, Martha and his mother on his grandfather’s farm on Kolbe Road, outside Amherst, Ohio. His lifelong willingness to explore places, people and ideas was nurtured by the book series, “The Adventures of Tom Swift” and Zane Gray’s novels of the American West. He inherited his mother’s love of poetry, his grandfather’s call to faith and an impish sense of humor — gifts he enjoyed sharing with anyone who would listen.

He had a great appreciation for the value of hard work and a boundless optimism that with careful planning, everything would always turn out well. He attended Ohio State University, joining Alpha Zeta Fraternity and graduating with the second-highest GPA in his class. Even there his unbounded curiosity and quest for knowledge was not satiated. He was on the Army ROTC rifle team and graduated magna cum laude with degrees in dairy husbandry, agronomy, and agricultural economics. It was there he met Helen Cattell, a multi-talented athlete who shared the common belief that family and community were important and that success could be obtained by sheer will. They were married in January 1950 and moved to a small farm in Wake Forest in 1952 with 15 heifers, a young child, and big dreams. Thirty-five years later their dairy herd was the top producing herd in the state in its class.

His tireless advocacy for farmers, his intellectual capacity, and the ability to forge compromises were recognized by various North Carolina governors, as he was appointed to the board of directors of the NC Milk Commission, and the NC Dairy Foundation. His peers trusted and relied on him as well, electing him the chairman of the NC Farm Bureau, the president of the Pine State Milk Producers Association, the board of directors of Southern States Cooperative, and the American Dairymen’s Association among other posts. He was particularly proud of being asked to be on the advisory board for Wake Forest School System during its integration and worked tirelessly to ensure it was accomplished without rancor.

He was dedicated to the Woodland Baptist Church and was active as a Sunday school teacher and deacon. He loved the outdoors and traveling. As a college student he ice-skated and walked on his hands to impress Helen. Later, he learned water skiing, snow skiing and windsurfing. He enjoyed traveling not only for the adventure, but because everyone he met was deserving of an interview.

He was a devoted father, a life coach and a steady presence during life’s turmoil for his six children. He was resourceful in providing opportunities and material blessings for them. Ponies then horses, boats and cars somehow appeared. All his children thought of their ideas as worthy, even if at the end of his review they bore no resemblance to the original proposal. He attended school nights, took an interest in school projects and helped with homework. He attended all of his grandchildren’s graduations save one but he made it into her picture.

He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 61 years Helen and is survived by: his sister, Martha Hisey of Bellevue, Washington; his children, Douglas, (Karen) of Barrington, Illinois; Lee, Wake Forest; Ted (Melody), Atlanta, Georgia; David (Carrie), Winthrop, Washington; Laura, Wake Forest; Glen, Louisburg; 16 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be held Friday, June 28 from 6-8 p.m. at Bright Funeral Home Wake Forest. Funeral services will be held Saturday, June 29 at 11 a.m. at Woodland Church.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Building Fund Woodland Baptist Church, 190 Woodland Church Road, Wake Forest, N.C. 27587.