ForeverMissed
Dennis Darling, 68 years old, was born on October 18, 1952 in the small farming town of Baldur, Manitoba. It is with profound sadness that we announce his passing on October 30, 2020 after a long and hard-fought battle against cancer. He passed away surrounded by the warmth of his family in the comfort of his bed, even as a Yukon storm wept frozen tears outside his bay window. Dennis would have appreciated the beauty and peace in those final moments.

Dennis Darling was an extremely unique and special man. He balanced a sense of stoicism and realism with an incredible propensity for empathy and caring. He was a loyal friend, a trusted mentor, and an amazing educator. Everyone that he met came away with the sense that Dennis truly cared about them, because he truly did. He spent his entire life looking out for, and after, others. As a teacher and principal, he would take the time to listen to both teachers and students alike, and was nominated as a Principal of the Year in 2012 shortly before his retirement from teaching - after 40 years of educating students in Manitoba, British Colombia, Saskatchewan and the Yukon. 

Dennis Darling was a passionate educator, an avid cross-country skier, and a (fairly) successful hunter. He loved walking with his canine partner Max up to Caribou Lake and along the crocus bluffs where Max's ashes were spread. He was an adept canoer and biker, and participated in the Ride to Conquer Cancer three times after being diagnosed with cancer.  He loved hiking, and being outdoors with family. He loved to hike the Chilkoot pass, and took every opportunity to travel with friends and family. He was passionate about sharing experiences with those that he loved, and was an incredible chef. His Sunday morning waffle breakfasts will always be a cherished memory for those who had the fortune to share in those experiences.

Dennis Darling was the most loving Son, Brother, Husband, Father, Uncle, Grandfather, Friend, and Mentor that any person could ever have asked for. He was always there for his family, no matter what. Always. He demonstrated his love through words, actions, and the most thoughtful and amazing Christmas gifts you could ever imagine. His joyous nature and laughter were infectious. He leaves behind his mother Gladys, his wife Rhonda, his children, Timothy (Denise McDiarmid) Darling; Kevin Darling (Brittany Sinclair); and Amy Darling (Chris Quilley); his sister Elizabeth Manning and her children Megan (Melissa), and Arel; his sister Sandra (Bernie Davidowich) and their children Eric, Trevor, and Ryan; his brother Brian (Kathy) Darling and their children Ashley (Jake Sangster), and Kristy. He leaves behind three amazing grandchildren, Theron, Quinn, and Hannah, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

It is difficult to convey in words how amazing Dennis was, or how much he will be missed. His passing has left an immeasurable hole in a loving world which he helped create. One person's experience alone cannot convey the gifts he bestowed upon all of us with his presence. At Dennis' request, there will not be a formal service. However, we are extending the opportunity to all of you to share your memories and experiences with Dennis in this loving memorial - a tribute to a truly great man.

In lieu of flowers, people can make donations to the BC Cancer Society (http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/donate) or by participating in, or donating to someone participating in the Ride to Conquer Cancer 2021. 

We can all strive to live by the example that was set by you Dennis, and that is the best gift  we can possibly give you now.

Fondly remembered, and always in our hearts.
Posted by Jerry Storie on November 21, 2020
He will be missed. Dennis Darling was my idea of a fully-human being. He was a deeply caring, compassionate, intelligent, witty, and courageous man. He loved his family and he was loved in return. He was also loved, admired and respect by people who got to know him. He was unique in many ways, but his special talent was the ability to listen in a way that left you feeling he heard you even if he didn't agree. He had a gentle way of sharing his thoughts and opinions that didn't challenge you, but somehow changed your perspective.

I know how much he loved his family and their home in the Yukon. I am grateful that I was able to visit and hike the Chilkoot with him on two of the many trips he made on that trail. Dennis was always eager to see new things and he didn't need much encouragement to take a road trip. I will always treasure the time we spent together on our adventures, a road trip to Dawson City, hiking the Tombstone Mountains and our Top of the World tour. A visit to see Dennis would not have been complete without some whitewater rafting, hiking or canoeing the Yukon River.

I know how much he will be missed by his family. I hope they all know that Dennis inspired people to be better, he had that effect on you. We are all better for having known him. I will being thinking of him often, and the family he leaves behind, too.  JS
Posted by Amber Church on November 20, 2020
My most vivid memory of Dennis is from a New Year’s morning. Tyler and I were asleep on the living room floor after a very festive New Year’s Eve. We woke, much earlier than expected, to Dennis joyously announcing “get up, I’ve made breakfast!” We stumbled our way to the kitchen with all of our friends to be fed a feast. It wasn’t until we were about half way through the meal that my brain kicked into gear and it occurred to me that not only had Dennis also fed us all an amazing feast the night before, but he had outlasted most of us who were several decades younger than him the night before. And despite this he had bounced out of bed and made us all breakfast and then taken on the thankless task of rousing all of us from the makeshift beds we had made all over his house. He was the sweetest man and will be dearly missed.
Posted by K S on November 16, 2020
Our deepest condolences to you and your family, Amy. The tribute to your Dad brought me to tears. He was truly a remarkable man and leaves behind a remarkable legacy in the lives he touched. Wishing you all peace in the days, weeks and years ahead.

Kristine, Dave, Tasman and Sebastian
Posted by Jim Duthie on November 10, 2020
Dennis you were never far from my thoughts. A Friend from our early days at BU. After Graduation we went in different directions you to, La Brourquie, Flin Flon/Creighton, then west landing at last in Whitehorse
You would connect with me on your visits home and it seems we would always pick up where we left off.
I will never forget our Chillkoot adventure and hanging out in your wonderful Yukon home. I will cherish that memory and our last face to face visit at a Tim Hortons in Winnipeg. You explained the disease and how it worked and how you were fighting it. You were not afraid, you were determined.
Our last few visits by phone were still filled with explanation and hope...In the end your time was of your choosing. Your family was with you.
Condolences to Rhonda, Tim, Amy and Kevin, Betty, Sandy and Brian and all your family.
I miss you and your laugh, your amazing ability to explain things and break down the complications...your friendship..
The world is not fair. You are at peace now.  Love Jamie and Pat
Posted by Jane Wilson on November 4, 2020
Such a loss to our community - Dennis was such a lovely man, always warm, friendly, and smiling. Big hugs to the Darling family. 
Posted by Christiane Boisjoly on November 3, 2020
Such a shocking news to get this morning. I have been away from the Yukon for 5 years and have been a bit disconnected. However I sure do remember those who made a real difference. And, Yes, I also do remember Dennis as a very sweet, gentle and generous person. His whole family is blessed with this legacy. Sending much Love and Light to everyone.
Posted by Aine Larkin on November 2, 2020
I am so sorry to hear this sad news. I only met Dennis a few times but he was so lovely, very welcoming and friendly. He was so easy to talk to. I know he and Rhonda really appreciated each other and I am happy they had each other for such a long time. I know he wasn’t well but it is always such a shock to loose someone you love so dearly. I hope you will feel God’s presence during this very sad time, Rhonda.
Posted by Alison Hamilton Ott on November 1, 2020
Gentle and friendly..that is how I would describe Dennis. He was very helpful to me when I subbed way back when at Hidden Valley. But mostly I know him through the eyes of Rhonda and she shone the light on him as a wonderful caring husband. Rhonda, dear friend, may the Lord wrap his arms around you now as you mourn the loss of your beloved. May you transfer your love for Dennis into the eternal and new type of love for him. Know that the love you experienced together is forever present in your heart.
Posted by Nicole Smith on November 1, 2020
My heart hurt so much hearing this, an amazing educator and human being. The year he started being a principal in Teslin, he hired me to sub until the next year when he hired me permanently. in the 3 1/2 years I was there I never had a problem talking to him about anything and he always had good advice for me. He will be sorely missed, Love and Prayers to his family and friends far and wide.
Posted by Donna Jones on November 1, 2020
What a lovely tribute to a lovely man!  I'm sure the music was some of his favourites.....  Sending condolences to the Darling Family.  To live in hearts left behind is not to die.  There is no question that loss changes us profoundly and permanently. But death does not end relationships. We find ways to go forward, weaving both the loss and the legacy of the person who died into the story of the rest of our lives. 
Posted by Jenny Darling on November 1, 2020
I am very sad to hear the news that Dennis has passed away. May you rest in peace, Dennis. Thank you for your kindness, your conversation, and connecting me to the Darling family in the Yukon. My sincere condolences to all the Darling family.
Posted by Jane Bates on November 1, 2020
My deepest condolences to the Darling family. The loss of a man like Dennis is hard to comprehend and to measure. He was a kind and compassionate man who always greeted you with a smile. He will be greatly missed. Sending heartfelt thoughts and prayers to all of you.
Posted by Jessica Green on November 1, 2020
Dearest Darlings, Sending all our love during this incredibly heart breaking time. Occasionally Denis and I would bump into one another at the CGC and he always greeted me with a bright welcoming smile. That brightness is what I will remember. Much love, Schneider-Green family
Posted by Kelly VanEvery-Morris on November 1, 2020
We offer up our thoughts and prayers for the family, and ask for comfort and strength for all. Dennis embraced the challenges of small town education with a focus on all things great and good. Impacts of his ensuring a positive educational experiences our students had will be everlasting. Our community feels the loss of Dennis and we extend are warmest and heartfelt thoughts to those saddened by Dennis’ passing. Much love...
Posted by Dean Yaremchuk on November 1, 2020
To the Darling Family - our sincerest condolences for your loss. Although I had not seen Dennis for many years, we often heard his brother Brian speak about him lovingly and with pride on our annual fishing trips. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this difficult time.
Dean & Debbie Yaremchuk
Posted by Marie Simoens on November 1, 2020
We all meet extraordinary individuals in life although sometimes we don't fully realize it at the time. I knew Dennis was one in a million early on as we worked with special needs students at Hidden Valley School. We often spoke of our prairie connection but it went deeper than that. I watched struggling students blossom under his care .I will always treasure his recent last message knowing the effort it must have cost. I will never forget this remarkable educator and am forever grateful that he was my dear friend.
Posted by Roma Christine on November 1, 2020
My deepest condolences to Rhonda and family. The world has truly lost a kind and remarkable person. I was fortunate to work with Dennis at Hidden Valley School and was struck by his big heart, gentle spirit, generosity, helpfulness ... and his quirky sense of humour. So grateful to have seen him a few days ago. Sharing in your sadness. RIP Dennis! 
Roma Dobrowolsky
Posted by Lorelea Frizzell on November 1, 2020
My heartfelt condolences to Rhonda and the family. Dennis was such a warm and thoughtful man. Always smiling and welcoming. He will be missed.
Posted by Glenda Eberlein on November 1, 2020
I am sending my deepest sympathy to Rhonda and Tim, Amy and Kevin and your family on the loss of Dennis, who was a wonderful man. He was such a fine teacher and principal, always supportive of students, parents and staff. He loved his wife, Rhonda, and his family and spoke so proudly of them. I will always remember Dennis for his integrity and kindness, and his smile and sense of humour.
Posted by Melissa Nichols-McConnell on November 1, 2020
I loved working with Dennis at Hidden Valley. He was a kind and compassionate person. A loving family man, he was so proud of his family and talked about them often. I remember visits with Dennis and Rhonda as they welcomed me into their home at the lake. The last time I saw Dennis was when he and Rhonda came to Nova Scotia and Adam and I met them for lunch. I am so very thankful for his friendship. My heartfelt condolences to Rhonda and his whole family.
Posted by Kathryn Secord on October 31, 2020
Sending thoughts of love and hugs to the Darling family. I hadn't seen Dennis very often since we last worked together, but when I did it was like we just picked up where we left off. And he always made me smile. That smile was captured very well in the wonderful family photos here in his tribute. Raising a glass in your honour Dennis.
Posted by Maggie Leary on October 31, 2020
The world has lost a lovely, kind man. I never saw him without his friendly welcoming smile. My condolences to Rhonda and all his family.
Posted by Cheryl MacLeod on October 31, 2020
Please accept my condolences Rhonda and family. My thoughts are with you. Dennis and I became friends from teaching together at Hidden Valley. Dennis was such a caring person. He looked out for both staff and students. I always appreciated his divergent thinking which often led to creative problem solving. He was a wonderful friend. He loved his family and was very proud of all of you Rhonda, children and their spouses, and grandchildren. I will miss his friendship.
Posted by Andrew Craigen on October 31, 2020
Heartfelt condolences to the Darling family. Dennis was a kind man who always welcomed guests into his home and made them feel comfortable. I will remember him for his smiling, positive presence and his great sense of humour.

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Jerry Storie on November 21, 2020
He will be missed. Dennis Darling was my idea of a fully-human being. He was a deeply caring, compassionate, intelligent, witty, and courageous man. He loved his family and he was loved in return. He was also loved, admired and respect by people who got to know him. He was unique in many ways, but his special talent was the ability to listen in a way that left you feeling he heard you even if he didn't agree. He had a gentle way of sharing his thoughts and opinions that didn't challenge you, but somehow changed your perspective.

I know how much he loved his family and their home in the Yukon. I am grateful that I was able to visit and hike the Chilkoot with him on two of the many trips he made on that trail. Dennis was always eager to see new things and he didn't need much encouragement to take a road trip. I will always treasure the time we spent together on our adventures, a road trip to Dawson City, hiking the Tombstone Mountains and our Top of the World tour. A visit to see Dennis would not have been complete without some whitewater rafting, hiking or canoeing the Yukon River.

I know how much he will be missed by his family. I hope they all know that Dennis inspired people to be better, he had that effect on you. We are all better for having known him. I will being thinking of him often, and the family he leaves behind, too.  JS
Posted by Amber Church on November 20, 2020
My most vivid memory of Dennis is from a New Year’s morning. Tyler and I were asleep on the living room floor after a very festive New Year’s Eve. We woke, much earlier than expected, to Dennis joyously announcing “get up, I’ve made breakfast!” We stumbled our way to the kitchen with all of our friends to be fed a feast. It wasn’t until we were about half way through the meal that my brain kicked into gear and it occurred to me that not only had Dennis also fed us all an amazing feast the night before, but he had outlasted most of us who were several decades younger than him the night before. And despite this he had bounced out of bed and made us all breakfast and then taken on the thankless task of rousing all of us from the makeshift beds we had made all over his house. He was the sweetest man and will be dearly missed.
Posted by K S on November 16, 2020
Our deepest condolences to you and your family, Amy. The tribute to your Dad brought me to tears. He was truly a remarkable man and leaves behind a remarkable legacy in the lives he touched. Wishing you all peace in the days, weeks and years ahead.

Kristine, Dave, Tasman and Sebastian
Recent stories

A Kind and Wonderful Man

Shared by Andrew Cameron on November 8, 2020
Dennis was my very first principal. I remember the day he called me to arrange an interview and a few days later when he called me to congratulate me on accepting the offer. Once I accepted he almost immediately invited me to his and Rhonda's beautiful home in Marsh Lake. We had a lasagne, which was delicious! 
Though challenging, my first year was successful because Dennis acted as my mentor and friend throughout the year. At least once a week, myself and a co-worker would visit his home in Teslin for a dinner and a check-in. He always made sure that I was doing well and offered advice when asked and forgave my mistakes. When I left Teslin, Dennis continued to act as a friend and mentor. I would occasionally stop by his home when I was heading in or out of town. Throughout my tenure in the communities Dennis opened his home to me and made me feel like a member of the family. I was even invited for a New Year's evening at his home.
In August 2017, Dennis, myself, and Cole did the Chilkoot in four days. This was an incredible adventure! Doing this with Dennis and Cole made the adventure more memorable and enjoyable than a I could have thought, even with the two days of rain after the peak! We trekked across this historical path in all weather and conditions and got through it in one piece. I'm so glad my first Chilkoot trip was with Dennis and Cole!
It was around this time that Dennis also revealed to me his terminal condition. I did not know how to act or speak and told him as much and he said that it was okay. It was always at the back of my mind but Dennis made sure that we talked of other things and updated me on what was going on. There was a time, after a long conversation, where Dennis said that he considered me a son. I appreciated and continue to appreciate this endearing gesture. He was such a kind man.
For the next couple of years Dennis and I drifted in and out of contact. I was working in Ross River and rarely made it town. When I moved to Whitehorse we tried to meet in Whitehorse when he was in town but this did not happen often. However, we did share a visit before the pandemic and I was able to chat with him a couple of times before his passing.
I felt guilty not making more attempts to talk to Dennis in 2019 and first half of 2020. Our time together was quickly drawing to an end. When I heard of his passing I was upset and when I visited this site I was wracked with guilt and the realization that my exceptional friend and mentor had forever left my life.
My dreams that evening were clear. Dennis and I were having a conversation; two friends enjoying the weather and walking together in a forested area. We talked of life and how he had gotten over his illness. He was happy and healthy and we were enjoying our time together. I can't say for sure, but maybe Dennis visited me in my dreams to let me know that it was okay and that I should not feel guilty.
I think that was what made Dennis an incredible person. His ability to understand and put people at ease was unmatched. He knew what to say, when to speak and how to support people through all their turmoil. I will miss Dennis dearly but will always have memories and an incredible model to follow for the rest of my life.
Writing this was wonderful and the last part made me very sad. But I think Dennis would understand and would help put my heart at ease.
Dennis, you were an incredible friend and family man. May you rest in peace. My condolences to the Darling family.  

Kids together

Shared by Pat Bragg on November 6, 2020
Dennis and I go back a long way. He and Rhonda have both been friends we call each other family )to me for almost 50 years. When I was taking my teacher certification year in Winnipeg, inn1974-75 Dennis was teaching in LaBroquerie, Manitoba. Rhonda was in Brandon, already teaching too I think, my sister Marg and I lived together in a cheap apartment in Winnipeg ( I remember we each put in $25/ month into a jar for our shared groceries), Rhonda’s brother , Blaine was driving up many weekends from Grand Forks, (because he was Marg’s  boyfriend -later husband) where he was studying on a hockey scholarship , our sister Barb was around and Jim Brad. So there were lots of gatherings st our place in Winnipeg. No TV- just lots of music, wine, natural herbs and fun and games literally. We probably played spoons and spit, just like we did last few New Years at Marsh Lake. With the adult children. So many great memories- annual croquet picnics at Cranberry Portage, building Marg and  Blaine’s cabin on Athapaskan, many curling bonspiels, many scotches and celebrations involving turkeys. Many, many, many. Memories of all 5 of our children perfectly happy , perfectly quiet in the living room at Watson Lake over the holidays- each reading their own books. And tabun the kitchen- telling stories, fixing the world problems. I will miss Dennis so much. ❤️I hope he is at peace and iam glad his suffering is over. He fought the good fight. His life had meaning, he was loved  and valued by so many. Safe travels, old friend.
Shared by Joan Duthie Kilberg on November 2, 2020
Condolences to Rhonda and the whole family. Dennis was always the sweetest guy and good friend to my brother while we all attended university together. May your memories be a blessing.