Elizabeth “Liz” Hamilton Darden, age 86, passed away June 15, 2020 at Atria Park Tucker.
Mrs. Darden, known as “Bebeth” to her family, was born Nov. 27, 1933 in Raleigh, N.C. to the late Dr. C. Horace and Maurine Hamilton. She spent her childhood in Raleigh, in College Station, Texas, and in Evanston, Ill., before returning to Raleigh as a teenager, where her father was head of the Department of Rural Sociology at North Carolina State University. She earned a B.S. in Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1956, and married her college sweetheart, Charles W. Darden, shortly thereafter. She worked at several hospitals in North Carolina and Maryland and had her first two children before the growing family settled in DeKalb County in 1962.
After her children were all in school, Liz renewed her nursing license and worked at several facilities, including Grady Memorial Hospital, Georgia Mental Health Institute, and Northwest Regional Hospital in Rome. She was a comforting maternal figure to many young people when she worked as Jail Nurse in both Fulton and DeKalb Counties.
Liz was a tireless and devoted wife, mother, and grandmother. Her family remembers the countless delicious meals and holiday feasts she cooked over so many years, especially her endless stacks of Sunday morning pancakes and her Sunday dinner fried chicken with rice and gravy, and the glistening cranberry ring and fruitcake cookies she made every Thanksgiving and Christmas. But even her everyday meals were made with great love, and if you were hungry, there was always more spaghetti or another slice of Sock It to Me Cake for family and guests. She was also a gifted seamstress, and made many clothes for herself and her daughter, in addition to many Halloween and play costumes.
Her four children were involved in numerous activities, and she supported all their endeavors with enthusiasm. She was a Girl Scout troop leader, a Cub Scout Den Mother, and the proud mother of two Eagle Scouts and Grandmother of one Eagle Scout. She loved the theater, and would often get tickets for the family to see shows at the Alliance or the Fox. She also had great fun taking the stage herself for productions of “Oliver!” and “Oklahoma!” at Oak Grove United Methodist Church, where she taught children’s Sunday school for many years. Behind the scenes, she was a dedicated “theater mom” who brought snacks to long rehearsals and never missed a performance involving one of her children. She was always happiest when the family was together, sharing food, stories, and laughter. We will miss the wisdom, guidance, and unconditional love of our personal “Wonder Woman.” We will never know how she did it all, and made it look so easy.
In their golden years, Charlie and Bebeth enjoyed an anniversary trip to Hawaii, and never missed a chance to visit their beloved Chapel Hill for reunion weekends to see old friends and walk the campus again. Back at home, they watched Braves and Falcons games and any games involving the UNC Tar Heels or the NCSU Wolfpack, and remembered all the times they had attended games in Kenan Stadium and dances in Woollen Gym.
She was preceded in death by her brother, Charles Edward Hamilton, and her sister, Dr. Mary Bellamy Hamilton. She is survived by her loving husband of 63 years, Charlie Darden; and four children, Dan Darden (Tammie) of Kingston, Amy Ownbey (Joe) of Tucker, Allen Darden (Diane) of Cumming, Clark Darden of Tucker; and five grandchildren, Laura Ownbey, Rachel Ownbey, Andrea Darden, Michael Darden, and Hamilton Darden of Forsyth, Ga. There will be a service at a later date. Memorial donations may be made to the traditional music program at Oak Grove UMC and to Cub Scout Pack 577, also at Oak Grove.
The family would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to Liz’s caregivers in the Life Guidance Center at Atria Park Tucker. We will never forget your gentleness, compassion, and willingness to go the extra mile to make sure Liz had the best care possible. Near the end of her life, you kept her comfortable and helped her sing her favorite hymns when we could not be there. We are forever in your debt.