Darby Brackenhoff, 71, of Farmer City died at 10:45 p.m. April 15, 2016, in Urbana after a brief but fierce battle with a very virulent form of pancreatic cancer. She was surrounded by loving family members.
Visitation will be at 11 a.m. Saturday with a celebration of life to follow at 1:30 p.m. at Trinity Community Fellowship Church, Farmer City, with Pastor Dave Ashby officiating. Calvert-Belangee-Bruce Funeral Home, Farmer City, is in charge of arrangements. Burial will be at Maple Grove Cemetery immediately following the service for family and close friends.
Darby was born Sept. 26, 1944, in Farmer City, the daughter of Joseph and Barbara Eubank, who preceded her in death. She married Don M. Brackenhoff on Feb. 12, 1966.
She is survived by her husband, Don, and their children, Mark J. (Kari) Brackenhoff, Mahomet, and Morgan B. (Jennifer) Brackenhoff, Mansfield, as well as four granddaughters and two grandsons. She also is survived by her sister, Shari Eubank, as well as numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
She attended Moore Township High School in Farmer City and Drake University and graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University with a degree in English and speech. Her true passion was teaching high school English, speech and debate.
Her husband, Don, was a career officer and pilot in the U.S. Air Force, and they lived in many different places, including Enid and Oklahoma City, Okla.; Sacramento, Calif.; Boston, Mass.; Little Rock, Ark.; Montgomery, Ala.; and Honolulu, Hawaii. She spent nearly two years in Farmer City while Don was in Vietnam in the 1960s and early 1970s. When he retired from the Air Force in 1986 they moved back to Farmer City and she became a farmer’s wife.
Darby taught high school English, speech and debate at Southeast High School in Oklahoma City for three years, and later taught English and debate at Blue Ridge High School in Farmer City for five years until she grudgingly had to retire because of the effects of severe rheumatoid arthritis. She left a legacy of successful students who remained in contact with her, many of them saying that she was the best teacher that they had in their academic career.
When they retired from farming, they bought a motor home and saw a lot of the U.S. in their travels with their faithful West Highland white terrier, Braveheart. She particularly loved the two months that they spent in Florida each winter.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, her most favored charity for the thousands of service members who suffered grievous wounds and post-traumatic stress disorder.