Frank Darnell

July 14, 1927 ~ October 7, 2021 (age 94)

Obituary Image


Frank Darnell of Mishawaka, died peacefully in his sleep surrounded by his family, Thursday, October 7th, 2021.  He was 94 years old. 

Born Franklin David Darnell, July 14, 1927, to Elbert Allen and June (Ferguson) Darnell in Lawrence, Indiana; Frank was a resident of South Bend for most of his life, wintering at his home in Naples, Florida.  On June 2, 1995, Franklin Darnell married his loving bride Judith Deardorff, who survives.

Frank attended John Adams High School and was among the school’s first graduating class.  When he was just seventeen, he enlisted in the United States Navy and proudly served his country in WWII.  Like his father before him, he then attended Purdue University Pharmacy School, graduating with a degree in pharmaceutical science.

Frank was involved in many organizations.  He was a long standing member of Morris Park Country Club, a member of the Masons, First Presbyterian Church, Quail West Golf and Country Club, and South Bend Elks Lodge # 235, where he was the second longest standing member.  Frank enjoyed piloting his airplane, playing cards with his friends, fishing, skiing and boating, but above all, golf.

Frank was a passionate entrepreneur.  Having himself founded several businesses, he enjoyed mentoring many others in starting or advancing their own businesses.  His generosity was also shown in many ways.  He donated to numerous organizations and charities including Wounded Warriors Project, Saint Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Purdue University Pharmacy Program, and others.  He made significant contributions to Habitat for Humanity through land and property donations.

Along with his wife Judith, Frank is survived by his children, Deborah (Michael) Darnell Keiser of Spartanburg, SC, and David Allen Darnell of South Bend; his stepdaughters, Jill Cynthia (Mitchel) Deckard of Montgomery, Tx and Julie Marie Deardorff of South Bend; four grandchildren, Cassie (Mark) Register of Marietta, Ga, Carly(Joe) Pantoja of Spartanburg, SC, Sydney Margaret Deckard of Montgomery, Tx, and Saige Campbell Deckard of Montgomery, Tx; two great grandchildren, Ashton Michael Register and Julian Franklin Register, both of Marietta, Ga; his sister in law, Jane Darnell of Mishawaka; and his lifelong friend, Arnold Joers of South Bend.  Frank is also survived by his beloved dog, Caico Darnell.  Frank is preceded in death by his parents; brother, Richard Darnell; and sister and bother in law Susan and David Smith.

Frank’s family offers a heartfelt thank you to his caregivers Becca, Tina, Tejera, Pastor Bob, Heather, Krissy, Kayla, and Demaris. We are so grateful for you.

Services will be held at 1:00pm Wednesday, October 13, 2021, at First Presbyterian Church of South Bend, 333 W Colfax Ave, South Bend, IN 46601. Burial and military honors will immediately follow at St Joseph Valley Memorial Park, Granger. Friends may visit with the family starting at 11:45am until 12:45pm at the church. Palmer Funeral Homes-Welsheimer Chapel is assisting the family with arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in honor of Franklin David Darnell to Habitat for Humanity of St Joseph County, 402 E South St, South Bend, IN 46601, St Jude Children’s Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place • Memphis, TN 38105, First Presbyterian Church of South Bend, 333 W Colfax Ave, South Bend, IN 46601, or Traditions Health Hospice Care, 1820 E. Day Road, Mishawaka, Indiana 46545. Online condolences may be made to the family at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Frank Darnell, please visit our floral store.


October 13, 2021

11:45 AM to 12:45 PM
First Presbyterian Church (South Bend)
333 W. Colfax Avenue
South Bend, IN 46601

Funeral Service
October 13, 2021

1:00 PM
First Presbyterian Church (South Bend)
333 W. Colfax Avenue
South Bend, IN 46601

Graveside Services following
October 13, 2021

St. Joseph Valley Memorial Park
375 W. Cleveland road
Granger, IN 46530


Habitat for Humanity of St. Joseph County
402 E South Street, South Bend IN 46601
Tel: 1-844-517-1693

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis TN 38105-3678

First Presbyterian Church of South Bend
333 W. Colfax Avenue, South Bend IN 46601
Tel: 1-574-234-4159

Traditions Home, Health and Hospice Care
1820 E. Day Rd., Mishawaka IN 46545

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