Darla Jule Thompson, age 84, of Portage, Michigan passed away on November 11, 2023, with family by her side at Bickford Senior Living.
Darla was born on November 11, 1939, to the late Maurice and Emma (Eikelberg) Vanderwall. She is preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Darle Vanderwall. She is survived by her husband, James Thompson; daughters, Wendy Batchelor (Dan), Amy Ursprung and Mary Blackport (Brad); and, granddaughters Kristen Ursprung, Madison Speier (Mark), Avery Batchelor and Berkleigh Blackport.
Darla lived her early years in Wyoming, MI and graduated from Wyoming Park High School in 1958. Following that she obtained her comptometer certificate and worked at RC Allen Corporation in Grand Rapids. She and Jim were married on December 27, 1958. She joined him later the following year in North Carolina where he was serving in the US Army at Fort Bragg. Darla and Jim returned to Grand Rapids and then relocated to Portage, MI in 1965. It is in Portage where she raised her daughters and the Thompsons called home. She attended Lake Center Bible Church, Portage United Methodist Church and was active in their Bible study group for many years.
Darla was an active mother, involved in school activities and with local groups. Her sewing, knitting, crafting and quilting skills often called into duty. She returned to the workforce as her daughters were headed to college and enjoyed her work in retail at a local department store. Without a doubt, however, Darla’s favorite role was that of Grandmother. They were her greatest joy. She was her happiest spending time with them, crafting, baking, being silly, swimming in the lake or ocean and attending every recital, band or orchestra concert, school play, swim meet or equestrian competition that she could.
Darla and Jim enjoyed many of their later years traveling the United States, making it to 49 (all but Alaska). They especially enjoyed historical sites and National Parks, though her favorite destinations always included warm, sunny beaches, be it via a cruise, Caribbean Island or annual trips to Florida.
She led with love and joy in all that she did and said.
A funeral service will be held at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, at Langeland Family Funeral Homes & Cremation Service on 3926 South 9th Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49009. Friends may gather from 1:00 pm until the time of service.
A private burial will be held at South Portage Cemetery, 10401 S. Westnedge Avenue, Portage, Michigan 49002.
Memorials may be left to the Alzheimer’s Association in memory of Darla.
To view Darla’s personalized web page, please visit https://www.langelands.com