Editor’s note: The impact of the coronavirus pandemic is generally expressed in numbers of cases and deaths. But each data point represents a human life whose loss is felt by countless other people. We are chronicling some of them in an obituary series called Lives Remembered. If you know someone who has died of COVID-19, please tell us about them by emailing newstips@seattletimes.com with the subject line “Lives Remembered,” or by filling out the form at the bottom of this page.

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The story goes that about the time Charles Lindbergh was flying over Newfoundland, Canada, in 1927 on his historic flight over the Atlantic Ocean to Paris, a few hundred feet below him, Elizabeth Carberry went into labor with the last of her seven children.

The baby girl was born the day after Lindbergh landed in Paris. Edward and Elizabeth considered naming her Linda in honor of Lindbergh and his great adventure.

They didn’t, but Hilson Darkenwald went on to live a full and adventurous life, dying April 2 in Bellingham from complications of the coronavirus, less than two months from her 93rd birthday.

“I don’t want her to be just a statistic,” said daughter Catherine Darkenwald. “She was so well-rounded. She was everything: funny, athletic, educated, smart. She was everything good. No one, no one, ever not liked her. She always put others first.”

Ms. Darkenwald loved sports and was the captain of her high school basketball and field hockey teams. After school, she spent time working in a darkroom, where she developed X-rays from patients who were tested for tuberculosis.


That led her to Calgary, where she became certified as an X-ray technician. That job led her back to Newfoundland, to Victoria, B.C., and then to Minneapolis, where she met Robert Darkenwald.

The couple settled outside Overland Park, Kansas, and had three children. At age 40, Ms. Darkenwald took up golf, and it became a family activity. Ms. Darkenwald took to the game quickly, and was a 13-handicap just two years later. Daughter Catherine said her mom loved everything about the game.

“She loved being outside and walking, she liked the social part and having a drink afterward. And she took it seriously because she was very competitive,” Catherine Darkenwald said of her mom, who had dual citizenship in Canada and the United States. “It was what my parents had in common.”

In 1982, Robert Darkenwald died at age 52 from a heart attack.

“She all of a sudden became single with three kids. She was always, always (a rock), and I think what saved her is she was always a habitual walker.”

Ms. Darkenwald retired at 66, and began to do a lot of traveling. At 87, she took on a new adventure, moving to Bellingham to be near daughter Catherine.

“She was very adventurous,” Catherine said. “She moved at 87. Who does that?”


Ms. Darkenwald enjoyed the beauty of the Northwest and liked going to Bellingham’s craft breweries.

“She came here and we did a lot of things together,” Catherine said. “It was perfect and it was meant to be.”

In 2016, Ms. Darkenwald suffered a broken hip and then a stroke a couple of weeks later. She lived at Shuksan Healthcare Center in her final 3½ years. She loved going to happy hour and remained lucid and sharp until her death.

“I thought my mom was going to get better,” Catherine Darkenwald said. “I thought she would be OK because I had seen her survive pneumonia twice. I know she would have lived past 100 if it hadn’t been for (coronavirus).”

Ms. Darkenwald is survived by her three children and a grandson.

“She was a beautiful person, and she had a good life,” Catherine said.

(Design by Frank Mina / The Seattle Times)
Meet some of the people Washington state has lost to COVID-19