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LAKELAND - Patricia Houser Darlington passed away at home on January 18, 2012. She was two months shy of her 85th birthday.
Mrs. Darlington spent most of her life in Lakeland. Born Patricia Ann Houser in Paducah, Kentucky on March 12, 1927, she came to Florida with her family in 1931; when her father Robert, a railroad worker, was tragically killed by a train, his wife Lorena was left to raise seven children: Bobby, Jimmy, Patty, Jere, Larry, Dicky, and Judy. After graduating from Lakeland High School in 1945, Patty became a secretary to Mayor William Cade, and in 1949 she met David A. Darlington, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran enrolled at Florida Southern College. After they married and had a son, David II, they moved to Mr. Darlington's home state of New Jersey, which would alternate with Florida as their residence over the next two dozen years.
In 1974, after the couple had had a second son, Richard, they returned permanently to Lakeland, where Mr. Darlington worked for Cannon Buick and the Manheim Auto Auction and Mrs. Darlington was employed as a legal secretary to Jon Anderson in the firm of Yancey, Darby, and Munson. Always an efficient organizer, immaculate housekeeper, and avid reader, she developed physical ailments in later life, and as her health declined, she suffered a stroke and contracted breast cancer. When she passed away, she had just returned from a short stay at the Highlands Lake Center nursing facility. She was happy to come home.
Patricia is survived by her husband David of Lakeland; son Richard of Umatilla, Florida, and his wife Shelly; son David of Berkeley, California, and his partner Leigh Lightfoot; sisters Geraldine Yoakley of Charlotte, North Carolina and Julia Houser of St. Petersburg, Florida; brothers Larry Houser of Oxford, Florida and Richard Houser of Ponte Vedra, Florida; and seven grandchildren, Tyler, Zack, Molly, Gracie, Jackson, Wyatt, and Lily, of Umatilla.
A memorial service will be held in Lakeland at the Edgewood Church of Christ, 1815 East Edgewood Drive, at 3 p.m. Monday, February 6.
Published in Ledger on Feb. 3, 2012