Life Story / Obituary
If you were lucky enough to know Darrell Ray Munson, you were fortunate to know a man of true integrity. There was nothing that he wouldn’t do for others. Giving of himself selflessly over the years was the legacy he leaves behind to countless friends and family. He was an expert woodworker and loved the outdoors. He enjoyed many years of hunting, fishing, and trapping earning him the nickname of the modern-day Grizzly Adams. He lived his life cherishing his relationships with others. A true people person, he enjoyed long conversation and would tell anyone like it is, not holding back, but rather sharing his authentic feelings and values on just about any topic. Darrell’s trustworthy personality, his ability to fix or repair anything, and compassionate heart will be greatly missed and lovingly remembered.
It seems only fitting that Darrell’s story began during a time that was as vibrant as he was. It was the 1950's when James Dean was all the rage, Elvis Presley introduced the world to his rock ’n roll music, and shows like I Love Lucy changed the way we looked at the American family. Amidst this exciting time was the year 1955, when Gerald and Virginia (Sharp) Munson were pleased to announce the birth of their newborn boy, Darrell, born on May 4th in Portage, Michigan. Born to hardworking parents; his father, Jerry an ironworker with local 340 in Battle Creek and his mother, Virginia a homemaker, Darrell knew the value of a dollar and how to be resourceful during lean times.
Growing up in Portage, the youngest of seven children, Darrell was known to be quite accident prone. He was joined by his first cousin, Tim Sharp as first rate troublemakers of their time. The two of them were easily entertained by causing mischief and sharing in a good time. As a young man, Darrell was involved with boxing in Golden Gloves for several years. He graduated with the Class of 1974 from Portage Central High School where he excelled in football and was the Captain of his team. Beyond high school, Darrell went to work for General Motors as a third shift welder for several years before securing employment with Brundage Roofing. He later went into business for himself where he successfully worked as a subcontractor in construction since 1989, also working for Dimplex at the same time. No matter what the work he was involved in, he was good at everything he set his mind on doing.
Not to be forgotten was the meeting of the love of his life and his partner in marriage, Donna. The young couple met for the first time at a mutual friend’s house party back in 1983 and it was love at first sight, at least it was for Darrell! After two years of dating, they moved in together. Wanting to spend their lives with one another, they married on October 4, 1990 in nearby Texas Township. Together they raised two wonderful children; Kevin and Shannon. Darrell also had three children from a previous marriage; Patrick, Jacob and Jessica, who lived with their mother. Happily married for twenty-two years, he and Donna remained close friends long after their marriage ended.
Nothing brought Darrell more joy than sharing his expertise and resources with others. He loved to pitch in and help out various friends and family over the years, resolving their home improvement projects, fixing, or remodeling just about anything in their homes over the years. After his sister-in-law broke her knee, Darrell didn’t hesitate to grab his tools and head right over to build them a railing for their steps to help in her healing. Anytime a family member or friend got themselves into more than they could handle with a problem or repair, they called Darrell. He delighted in helping others and giving of himself, even helping Darlene’s family build a project for her granddaughter; a project that brought him great satisfaction.
Beyond his craftsmanship and his love of the outdoors, Darrell entertained a wide variety of hobbies and interests. He was a true animal lover but was especially fond of dogs. His favorite companion over the years was a Golden Labrador named, Goldie. People would see him driving around town and ask, "Who's the blonde with Darrell?" As a father, he was very hands on. When Kevin was little, he’d snow plow with Kevin in his baby carrier in his truck. He wanted to share his every moment with him. When Shannon came along, he had no idea that his heart could hold so much love. He thoroughly enjoyed his role of fatherhood, but he may argue that his grandchildren Dalton, Averie, Wyatt, Adreonna, Gus, Mina, Brandon, Quintin, and Samara were his pride and joy! He was a good babysitter and loved to have them over sharing with them his positive outlook on life. Any chance that brought him anywhere north, Darrell was content! He loved the beautiful northern destinations that Michigan has to offer such as the Tippy Dam, Tahquamenon Falls, Copper Harbor, and Whitefish Point. To him, living on Sugarloaf Lake reminded him of being up north and therefore his home was his refuge. He was an excellent cook serving up such delicious dishes as smoked fish, chicken, and ribs. In fact, if he had to live on only one dish, it’d be chicken! Darrell never waned from his love of country music and still listened to vinyl albums on his mother’s old record player. Growing up with a large family, Darrell seemed to be able to get along with anyone. Everyone loved him and looked forward to seeing him at the large family cookouts and pig roasts over the years. He was the life of the party and made it a point to get around and talk with everyone who attended. Described as having a hard outer shell, yet a soft core, Darrell leaves behind numerous positive and warm memories for his loved ones to cherish forever.
Darrell Ray Munson “Dink,” of Portage, Michigan passed away on Saturday, December 10, 2016 at the age of 61. Left to cherish Darrell’s memory are his three children: Kevin (Kara) Munson, Shannon (Aaron) Lawrence, and Jessica (Jim) Rogers; nine grandchildren; brothers Daniel (Robin), David (Yvonne), and Duane (Connie); sister Darlene (Paul) Woodard; and his former wife and best friend, Donna. He is preceded in death by sons Patrick and Jacob Tuman; brothers Don and Dale, and his parents. A wake to celebrate Darrell's life will be held Saturday at 3pm, December 17, 2016, at the American Legion (425 E. Clay St. Schoolcraft, MI). Please visit Darrell’s webpage at www.lifestorynet.com where you can sign the guestbook, share a memory or a photo. Those who wish may make a contribution to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.