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Santa Barbara News-Press : DARLING, Elinor Jean


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DARLING, Elinor Jean

July 9, 2013 6:01 AM

Passed away peacefully on May 14, 2013 surrounded by her family and much love and prayer.

Jean was born to Caroline "Linnie" and Percy Sawers in Kettle Falls, Washington, on June 17, 1921. Her family later moved to Seattle where she, her sister Margaret Sawers Knight and two brothers Bob and Phil Sawers, were raised. Jean survived them all.

Merrill and Jean dreamed of moving to California after meeting in Santa Barbara while Merrill was on leave from the US Navy during WW II. They danced under the lights in El Paseo and afterward vowed to make California their home one day. Their California adventure officially began in 1946 when they moved to Los Angeles. They spent 16 years in LA, started a family and established Merrill's career in the restaurant industry. In the early 60's, they moved up the coast to Thousand Oaks and then to Goleta, finally returning to the Santa Barbara area. For the next 25 years they co-owned and operated the popular restaurant Brays 101.

Their life in Santa Barbara included many friends and activities. They belonged to La Cumbre Country Club and played golf, bridge, and danced often. When it was time, Merrill and Jean retired to Solvang, California to be closer to family. In Solvang they continued their favorite pastimes at the Alisal Ranch and developed many new friendships.

Jean was the quintessential wife, mother and grandmother "Granny." Jean was an excellent cook, homemaker, gardener as well interested in the latest styles and fashion. Jean loved to read and until her very last days read three newspapers everyday.

Jean joined the Catholic Church later in her life and received amazing support and love from Father Gerald and the parish.

She lived most of her life as a vital bright and healthy woman who was grateful for her good fortune.

Jean was mother to: Richard Wilson Darling (Sandra) Long beach, California; Susan Jean Halme (Paul) Solvang, California; Colleen Darling Robertson (Larry) Solvang California; Robert Merrill Darling Bellevue, Washington

Grandmother to: Michael, Scott, Greg, Maili, Melissa, Mathew, Morgan, Charlie, Molly, Raymond, Christina, and Kelly Jean.

Great-grandmother to: Barrett, Brooke, Bennett, Melissa Madeline, Katherine, Ian, Morgan, Campbell, Paige, McCall, Max, Theo, Case, Ono, Maceo, Sage and Gabe. She was also an Aunt to many loving nieces and nephews.

We all miss her dearly but take comfort knowing that she and Merrill are now dancing together again.


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