Mary Charlotte Turner Darden

Published 4:58 pm Monday, July 24, 2023

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Mary Charlotte Turner Darden, 92, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on Saturday, July 22, 2023. She was born Nov. 15, 1930, in Suffolk. She was the daughter of the late Gus Crumpler Turner Sr. and Jane Emily Saunders Turner. Mary was preceded in death by her loving husband of 56 years, Charles Taylor Darden; a daughter, Cynthia Leigh Darden Warren; a sister, Bettie Emily Turner; brothers, Gus Crumpler Turner Jr. and Bob Saunders Turner and sisters-in-law, Vivian D. Rountree and Grace D. Lankford.

Mary had a love for music and served as choir director at Isle of Wight Christian Church for 20 years. She was an organist and pianist for those years. She was active in other areas of that church with Bible School and taught Sunday School in various classes. She later taught music and directed the 65-member chorus at Isle of Wight Academy and was the composer of the school song. She and her husband, Charles Taylor, sang and acted in many variety shows in their younger years. Mary was also active in the community. She served at the election poll for the Newport District for 13 years. Mary was her husband’s secretary and bookkeeper when they started their business, Isle of Wight Granary, in the early sixties. In May 1969, Isle of Wight County celebrated its 350th anniversary. Mary composed the original song, “Ole Isle of Wight” especially for that occasion. The song told the story of the early history of the county and was presented for several programs by a quartet. She opened her ceramic shop in the late sixties when she became a certified ceramic teacher for the Duncan Corporation. Following that venture she taught candy classes in her home. Mary loved quilting, crocheting, knitting and many other crafts. She was an avid seamstress and made clothes for her family and many friends. In her later years, she loved gardening and raised beautiful flowers around her home. After the demise of her husband, she operated Darden Self Storage with the help of her son, Billy.

Mary was a member of First Baptist Church in Suffolk and sang in the adult choir for 10 years. She was also a faithful member of the Thurman Hayes Sunday School Class. Mary loved her husband and her children. She loved people and she loved life, but most of all, she loved her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

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She is survived by daughters, Mary Warren Darden Rose (Thomas Carr) of Franklin, Valerie Shea Darden Handy of Smithfield, Yvonne Darden Piland (Dean) of Suffolk; son, William Taylor Darden (Donna) of Smithfield; many grandchildren, several great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren and many other loving family members.

A funeral service officiated by Dr. T.A. Powell will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, July 28, at R.W. Baker & Co. Downtown Suffolk Chapel, 509 W. Washington St. Family will receive friends the evening prior from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the funeral home. Burial at Uzzell’s United Methodist Church Cemetery will take place after the service. Memorial contributions may be made to First Baptist Church Building Fund, 237 Main St. Suffolk, Va. 23434. Online condolences may be registered at