Paula Lynne Darling

Paula Lynne Darling (née Jesse) died peacefully on the morning of March 4, 2021, at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri. She was born on Jan. 1, 1952, in the Navy hospital at Norfolk Navy Base in Virginia. She was the only child of Dan B. Jesse III and Margaret Pauline Jesse (née Schler). Paula graduated from Pace University in New York in 1974 and was married in the same year to Douglas Alan Darling. An Army couple, they were stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Benning, Georgia; Mannheim, Germany; and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Douglas left active duty in Leavenworth and Paula lived in that community for the rest of her life.

Paula worked as a teacher in Copperas Cove, Texas, before her children were born and returned to teaching after they were in school. She worked in Leavenworth as a teacher at Jack and Jill Preschool, as an early childhood educator for Parents as Teachers, and as a pre-kindergarten and kindergarten teacher at David Brewer Elementary School. 

Known for her strong Christian faith, she and Douglas were longtime members of First Baptist Church in Leavenworth, Kansas. She retired from teaching in 2013 and spent the rest of her life cultivating her passions which included spending time with family, tending to a massive organic garden and being active in her church community. 

She was diagnosed with cancer in 2014 and given 25% odds of surviving for five years. An overachiever, she made it almost seven years before her burdens became too much, but she remained full of life and love, able to speak with her family with a clear mind until the very end.

Paula was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her husband, Douglas Darling; her three sons and daughters-in-law: John and Jade Darling, Shawnee, Kansas; Dan and Kim Darling, Tampa, Florida; and Mark and Chynna Darling, Arvada, Colorado; and three grandchildren, Sean McCoy, Joel Darling and Annalise Darling. She is also survived by countless cousins and other relatives from her extended family with whom she was very close. 

A celebration of her life will be held May 1 at Leavenworth First Baptist Church in the hope that all her loved ones will be able to gather without social distancing. Her ashes will be interred in the cemetery at St. John’s Church in Billingsville, Missouri, along with her parents and many relatives and ancestors.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in her name be made to their choice of three groups: the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Leukemia Research Foundation or the Leavenworth County Master Gardeners. We also ask that you honor her memories by sharing them with us or just plant something green and cherish it in her name.

Condolences may be left on Paula’s online guestbook at

Arrangements are entrusted to Davis Funeral Chapel.

Posted online on March 15, 2021