In Loving Memory of
Mary Lee Darby
Jan. 2 1945 ~ Feb. 27, 2014
Mary Lee Darby, 69, of North Fort Myers died on February 27, 2014 at Hospice House in Cape Coral after a long battle with cancer. Mary Lee was born on January 2, 1945 in Algona, Iowa to Samuel Allen and Florence Bertha (Ramus) Darby. She is survived by her long-time friend and companion, Donald Amenta; a son, Chad (Marianne) Darby of Tualatin, Oregon; a daughter, Tara Blietz of Fort Myers, Florida; two granddaughters, Morgan and Sarah Darby of Tualatin, Oregon; and a sister Jane St. John of Centralia, Missouri. She is also survived by four nieces, several grandnieces and grandnephews, as well as great-grandnieces and great-grandnephews. She was preceded in death by her parents.
Mary Lee graduated as a Registered Nurse from Mercy School of Nursing in 1965 and began her nursing career working in the operating room and as a nursing instructor at the University of Iowa until 1974. She spent the next fifteen years raising her children and participating in various volunteer pursuits, including a long-term membership in the Butterworth Hospital Auxiliary Guild in Grand Rapids, Michigan. During this time her hobbies included quilting, playing bridge and cooking.
Mary Lee retired from her career in nursing in 2010 after 17 years at Shady Rest Care Pavilion (now Page Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center) and All About Home Care. At the time of her retirement, she was the Director of Nursing for All About Home Care and played an integral role in starting this home health agency.
Mary Lee was a member of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority for over forty-five years, where she made life-long friendships with her "sisters". Her favorite activity with the Beta Epsilon Master Chapter of the sorority involved work with the homeless, providing clothing and toiletries to those in need.
Mary Lee's dream for retirement was to travel the world and spend time with her grandchildren. She travelled to Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Morocco. She also took an Alaskan cruise and an RV road trip with her son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren before being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2012.
Mary Lee fought a brave battle with her illness and never gave up hope right up to the end. She will be remembered for her courage, her fighting spirit and her great love of life and family.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, March 14, 2014 at 3:00pm at National Cremation and Burial Society in North Fort Myers with visitation following. The family is planning a wake for Saturday, March 15, 2014 beginning at 4:00pm at Mary Lee's home to celebrate her life.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to be made to Hope Hospice of Lee County or the Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation.
Published in The News-Press on Mar. 5, 2014