Ross Columbus Darnell

January 14, 1917

March 7, 2003




Ross Columbus Darnell, beloved husband, father, and grandfather died at home with his family surrounding him on March 7, 2003 in Grand Junction at the age of 86.

Ross was born the second child of Roy Brock Darnell and Villa Briddy Waldrep Darnell. He learned to work hard on a farm in rural Georgia, which was still using horses and mules to pull buggies, wagons and plows to raise cotton, corn, and soybeans. Growing up during the Great Depression instilled the value of a dime in Ross. At age 12, he and his family moved to Lusk, Texas in Throckmorton County, and later moved to Caddo, Texas in Stephens County where he finished high school. After high school, he applied to join the Navy, but was turned down due to the lack of need in the service. After various jobs, he applied to the Civilian Conservation Corps and was accepted and assigned to Estes Park, Colorado. He later transferred to Grand Junction in 1939. The CCC had its own education system which he took advantage of while also attending Mesa College. While in the CCC, he met Geneva Myrtle Rice and about a year later they were married on January 12, 1941. He was hired as a civilian employee of the War Department in office administration (payroll, etc.) at Ft. Francis E. Warren in Cheyenne, Wyoming and later at Ft. Carson in Colorado Springs. Their first child Donald Ross, was born in 1942 and their daughter JoAnn followed in 1943.

Ross served in the U.S. Army 79th Infantry Division as a Browning Automatic Rifleman in the European Theatre from July 13, 1944 through February 5, 1946. He attained the grade of Tech 5 and received the EAME Campaign Medal with two Bronze Stars, the Good Conduct Medal, and the WWII Victory Medal. He was honorably discharged. Following the war, he moved his family back to Grand Junction in 1946 where he was hired by Borschell, Porter, Kane Agency a real estate property management and all lines insurance business. While there, he took advantage of the G.I. Bill training on the job. He eventually bought out all of the partners, and the business became the Darnell Insurance Agency.
Another son, Michael Dean was born in 1950, and another daughter Linda Kay was born in 1953.

Ross worked in the Insurance Business with Rottman-Darnell Agency until his retirement in 1980. He also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Grand Junction Drainage District for over 30 years.
For the past 57 years Ross and Geneva have made Grand Junction their home. Ross was active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and held many responsible positions locally. His family and church were his primary focus. He was also active in many civic organizations including Kiwanis International.
Ross is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Geneva; his two sons, Donald R. (Celia) of Broomfield, Co. and Michael D. (Shirley) of Heber City, Utah; his two daughters, JoAnn Brennan of Burbank, Ca. and Linda (Paul) Hagen of Farmington, NM; one brother, Joe (Brenda) Darnell of Cedartown, Georgia; one sister, Nell (Dean) Nichols of Tallapoosa, Ga.; numerous nephews and nieces; 21 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren. His parents and a brother Darris preceded him in death.
Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, March 10, 2003 at the Church of Latter-Day Saints, 2542 G road under the direction of Bishop Monte McCall. There will be a viewing beginning at 11:30 a.m. at the church. Visitation will be from 7-8 p.m. Sunday March 9th at Martin Mortuary. Interment will be at Grand Junction Municipal Cemetery.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations may be sent to St. Mary’s Regional Cancer Center, P.O. Box 1628, Grand Junction, Co. 81502.