Tag Archives: Birthdays

100 Years!

11800458_935479824288_4591741592690228539_n 100 Years!

My sister-in-law, the redhead seen talking to my great uncle on his 100th birthday in the photo on the left, wrote this up a few weeks ago, in celebration. She posted it on Facebook. She’s quite the poet, and now doing it for pay, too.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to be there. But I do plan on visiting him first chance I get.

“This bright soul turned 100 years old today. And as we looked back on a century of memories and experiences, I couldn’t quell the overwhelming sense of joy and awe at this man’s stunning accomplishments and wealth of fantastical stories. We can only hope to be as humorous and spry and humble and kind as Everett as age creeps and curls into our bones. I would consider myself immensely blessed to leave behind even an iota of the legacy he has created in his wake.”


Three Remain

Three siblings celebrate a birthday, his 100th.
Three siblings celebrate a birthday, his 100th.

My great uncle recently celebrated his 100th birthday with many of the family on hand at his humble abode in Oregon. My grandmother, now 88, visits him every week. Their youngest sister and her husband were there, too, visiting from South Dakota, where their father and grandfather built a farm and homestead.

I plan on visiting him in a few weeks, once I get settled after moving. It’s been a crazy, hectic month.

Here’s a little history to supplement his remarkable life. It shows the family in 1930: their father, George B., and mother, Geneva, who lived into her 90s. Sadly, Lois and Azalea are gone, but Grace, Everett and Marilyn remain.



July 2014

My great uncle's 99th birthday party.
My great uncle’s 99th birthday party.

This July is replete with significant milestones in our family.

My great uncle celebrated his 99th birthday two weeks ago. He has led a remarkable life. His love of funny stories and anecdotes has entertained us for decades. Thankfully, I’ve been around to hear many of them, and I’ve even recorded some on video.

He was a mere toddler when his uncle, Leslie Darling, went off to France to fight the Hun1 after America became entangled in the First World War. His uncle, Private Darling, died in late July of 1918, succumbing to a wound from a German machine gun crew he encountered near Épieds, France.2

The firefight is known as the Battle of Croix Rouge Farm. There is now a memorial on the farm where he was mortally wounded.

Leslie W. Darling
Leslie W. Darling

Douglas MacArthur, then chief of staff for the 42nd Division, which included Leslie Darling’s infantry regiment, the 168th of Iowa, noted the heroism of the men in his autobiography.

“ . . . the 167th Alabama assisted by the left flank of the 168th Iowa had stormed and captured the Croix Rouge Farm in a manner which for its gallantry I do not believe has been surpassed in military history. It was one of the few occasions on which the bayonet was decisively used.”

I should probably be there in person, in France, for the 100th anniversary in 2018.


1. Hun was a derogatory word used to describe the Germans during both world wars.

2. Leslie Warren Darling died either July 28 or 30, 1918. I would suspect the 28th is the correct date, since a letter is signed noting the day and details. A book compiled by the unit chaplain lists the 30th, but this is most likely a mistake.