Thanks to Karen and Mike Miller, Wendy Markley and Wes Knight for organizing a pot-luck picnic tribute to longtime club member Darby Piens, who died June 28 at age 79. About 100 people — club members, spouses, and family/friends of Darby — shared late afternoon sunshine, wonderful dishes and Darby stories.
Darby was an avid pickleball player with a great sense of fun. Darby’s frequent spin drops victimized many of us on the courts. A retaliatory shot (to where his worn knees just wouldn’t go) would earn Darby’s signature finger wag and exclamation of “Naughty!”
More than his play, though, we remember Darby’s deep love for his wife of 55 years, Marlene, who died March 13, 2017. Darby often brought Marlene, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, to the courts to sit smiling on a bench while he played pickleball. Darby often said what a privilege it was for him to care for Marlene for her last five years of life, as she had cared for him the preceding 50.
The highlight of our memorial was meeting Darby’s daughter, Michelle Guthmiller, who along with her husband, Jeff, came over from Lake City, CO near Gunnison. Michelle brought a carrot cake (Darby’s favorite!) decorated specially by Darby’s neighbor.
Darby would have loved to see everyone playing and laughing.