Published 3:44 pm Thursday, December 15, 2022

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Hazel Darden met her Lord and Savior Wednesday Dec. 14, 2022 at her daughter’s home in Denham Springs, La. at the age of 87. She was born on November 17th 1935 to Wiley and Dora Jenkins Crockett in Franklinton Louisiana. 

At a young age Hazel wanted to be a missionary spreading the good news of her Lord and Savior. At the age of 14, she chose Christ as her Master at Pettit Memorial Baptist Church in 1949, Bogalusa,  La. She met the love of her life, Howard “Lefty” Darden while working at a factory in Bogalusa. She later shared with her family how “Lefty” walked past her at the factory and winked, capturing her heart forever. Their first date was at a ball field where he was pitching. From that day forward they were never apart. They married Nov. 18, 1955 and had three children. 

She was very active in her children’s lives. She taught them what it meant to have a servant’s heart and the love of Jesus Christ. Her children recall many late nights she counseled their friends through troubled times. After her children grew up and moved away, she missioned foster children by opening her home to restore their sense of family and instilled examples of Godly behavior. 

At 62 years old, she was led to study at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary where she received her bachelor’s degree. She reminded her grandchildren that she was the oldest student in her graduating class. She described how challenging it was to go back to school and study as a wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and a servant of God. However, she continued despite the unexpected criticism. She led by example. She taught her family to never give up. Have faith in God, and trust in Him. She used her Seminary degree to counsel women at a local rape crisis center in her community.

Throughout her life, she served at Main Street Baptist Church, Westside Emmanuel Baptist Church, and Memorial Baptist Church. She led Sunday school classes, GA’s, Training Union as a counselor and with the Voce of an Angel. She loved to sing hymns and worship in choir. During Thanksgiving and Christmas, she was known to share her homemade candies (Pecan Divinity), chicken and dumplings. She was a member of the Bogalusa Civic League, and the Grand Court Order of Amaranth in Bogalusa.

Her prayer for her family is that they remain close to the Lord and never lose sight of His love. Hazel Darden lived intentionally. Throughout her life she enriched lives bringing God glory by the way she lived. She built her life on the word of God leaving a legacy for generations (as well as her singing “The chocolate Ice Cream Song”).

Hazel Darden was preceded in death by her husband William Howard “Lefty” Darden Sr, her parents Wiley and Dora Crockett, brother Wilfred “Brother” Crockett whom she adored and her sisters (best friends) Christine Russell, Ella Batten, son in law Roger Tobara and companion/side-kick dog “Breezy.”

Hazel Darden is survived by her sons William “Billy” Darden Jr. (Delia) of Calera Alabama, Darrell Darden (Melissa) of Crossroads, Miss. and daughter Sharon Darden Tobara of Denham Springs, La.. Her grandchildren, Michelle Overton (Shane), Jorge Cordova (Michelle), Angela Darden, William “Will” Darden III (Cristina), Chris Darden (Maegan) Austin Darden (Rachel), Erika Smith, Kristina Tobara Fresina (Chris) and Amanda Tobara Richard (Chase). She is also survived by ten great grandchildren and two great, great grandchildren.

Pallbearers will be her grandsons Chris Darden, Austin Darden, Shane Overton, Jorge Cordova, Will Darden, Chris Fresina and Chase Richard.

A huge special thanks to her loving niece who she adored, Jodi Darden Morris. She cherished drinking coffee and spending time with Jodi. Jodi helped with her daily care. 

Thank you to her neighbor in Denham Springs, Melinda Mayeaux and Margie Tynes of Cross Roads, Miss. for their love and care. Thank you to Dr. Jeanne Brignac and St. Joseph Hospice of Baton Rouge, Ochsner Clinics, Ochsner Radiology and Poole-Ritchie Funeral Home. 

A special thank you to Bro. Ronnie Jones and Bro. Larry Head.

Services to celebrate Hazel Darden’s life will be held on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, 2 p.m. at Poole-Ritchie Funeral Home in Bogalusa, La. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the funeral home chapel. Interment to follow at Ponemah Cemetery. 

To view and sign the guest book please visit www.pooleritchiefuneralhome.com