Cover photo for Jean Darling's Obituary
Jean Darling Profile Photo

Jean Darling

August 1, 1937 — May 11, 2024

Jean Darling

Jean (Kreger) Darling, born August 1, 1937, went to be with her Lord on May 11, 2024 in Kalamazoo, MI.  She was born in Ann Arbor, MI, to Carl and Marie Kreger. As the middle sister, she shared a very close bond with sisters, Polly and Bonnie, as well as with other family members.  

Jean had life-long passions for reading, learning, and teaching.  She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education from Michigan State University in 1959 followed by a Master of Arts degree in 1964.  In an interview Jean once gave, she said she majored in children’s literature with a minor in research, something she thought was quite an unusual pairing.  While attending graduate school at MSU, she met Dennis Darling whom she married in 1964.  They later moved to Kalamazoo in 1967 where they permanently settled.

As an exceptionally talented weaver, seamstress, and craftsperson, Jean enjoyed gifting others with her handiwork as well as sharing her knowledge.  As a charter member of the Weaver’s Guild of Kalamazoo, she shared the story with them that, early on in her marriage, she wanted a loom but they did not have the funds to purchase one.  She investigated options and, to her great surprise, was able to secure a loan to purchase a loom, something that she loved and was so grateful to have.  

Using her creative gifts with others also brought great joy to Jean. Over their 40 plus years at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Jean and Dennis became known for their work as a team. Together they immersed themselves in Altar and Liturgical Arts Ministries, finding many ways to serve and enrich the life of the Church and the lives of so many people.  Helping others extended beyond the Church and into the wider community and circle of friends.  Jean remained active and involved in many ways up until the time of her stroke.  

As someone deeply loyal to her Norwegian heritage, Jean was also a proud charter member of the local Askeladden Lodge of the Sons of Norway.  She served in multiple capacities for the lodge and was always willing to serve in any way she was needed.   

Jean had a very strong faith and shared this with others through hosting special liturgical events and meals, and participating in Bible studies and book groups.  It has brought comfort to everyone that Jean passed away peacefully with her pastor by her side.    

Above all, Jean had a deep love for her son and granddaughters, as well as other family and her large circle of special friends.  She had a huge heart for others and was always ready with a smile and warm greeting.  She also had an incredible way of making others feel recognized and loved.

Jean was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Dennis, in December, 2022, as well as her sister, PollyAnn Pell.  She is survived by her son Chad, granddaughters Druanna and Lucie Darling, sister Bonnie Rodgers (Leon), her nieces and nephews.  A Celebration of Life service will be held at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 1747 W. Milham Ave., Portage, MI at 10:00 a.m. on May 25, 2024.  Family and friends may gather at 9:30 a.m.  A reception with light refreshments will be held immediately following the service at the church.  The service will be livestreamed and can be viewed at or through the church website at  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Prince of Peace Lutheran Church – Liturgical Arts Ministry or to a charity of your choice. 

While visiting Jean’s webpage at please sign the guestbook and/or share a memory with the family. The family is being assisted by Avink, McCowen & Secord Funeral Home; 5975 Lovers Lane in Portage 269 344-5600.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jean Darling, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

Prince of Peace Lutheran Church

1747 W Milham Ave, Portage, MI 49024

The service can be live streamed at

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