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Dennis J. Darnell


Dennis Darnell loved life and lived every day to the fullest. Faith, family, and friends were all extremely important to Dennis. One of his favorite phrases was “it’s a beautiful thing!!” These combined are the theme of Dennis’ Gift of Life quilt square. The fourth of twelve children Dennis learned Christian values, sharing, compassion, responsibility, and helping others whenever possible. Dennis also learned a strong work ethic, the value of “team” and how to make sure his voice and opinions were heard. Dennis loved to tell stories and laugh. He was curious, loved to build, and could repair anything. In his family, he was the “go to” guy...always there to help when needed. Dennis was a true “family man” in every sense of the word. His greatest accomplishment was his two sons, Ryan and Jeff, and Dennis was extremely proud to be their dad!

Dennis favorite colors (teal and purple) were woven into the quilt square years ago by Dennis’ fiancée (Pam’s) mother (Jean), waiting for the “perfect purpose!’ This turn out to be Dennis’ Gift of Life quilt square. Dennis’ dear mother and two brothers passed before Dennis, along with other family members. The “Broken Chain” reminds us that we will all be reunited someday.

When Dennis was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, he was looking forward to retirement. Instead, his life took another turn. Dennis took on his illness with the same curiosity and fierceness that he took on any other challenge in his life. Dennis greeted all the university of Michigan health care professionals with a joke and a smile and continued to say, “this is going to have a positive outcome!’ It is ironic that, of all Dennis’ siblings, he was the only one who had glasses from an early age, yet Dennis was able to donate his corneas. The family was later told that, because of that donation, two individuals now have sight. Dennis would say “It’s a beautiful thing!!” Again, Dennis, through his acts and deeds, helped others. Sadly for Dennis, no lung became available in time for his transplant, but he would be proud to know that his illness DID have a positive outcome… through HIS donation of organs. If Dennis were here now, he would ask one thing. That everyone “pay it forward” by spreading the word about organ donation. Let his words continue to have a “positive outcome” for others!!!