WEST FRANKFORT — Billy Darnell, 86, died Friday July 19, 2019, peacefully at home, surrounded by loving family.
He leaves behind two daughters, Capprice Switlik, and Denise Darnell; son, Tran Hu Dung; grandsons, Jason Conaughty; wife, Norma, and Garrett Brown; granddaughters, Raven Tindall; husband, Eric, and Amanda Morgan; and numerous great-grandchildren; and nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 50 years, Sharon Lynn Warner; his parents, Walter and Annis Darnell; three brothers, John, James and Walter; and one sister, Freida Rich.
Billy was a 1951 graduate of Frankfort Community High School.
He joined the Navy in 1952 and served in the Korean War as a naval navigator stationed in Reykjavik, Iceland. After the war, he earned his FCC license and worked for NASA in Melbourne, Florida, as a telemetrist and electronics specialist.
He married Sharon Lynn Warner in 1956, and they had two daughters, Capprice and Denise. He later worked as a civil engineer with C.C. Young and designed many of the early subdivisions of the Lake of Egypt. They moved to Miami, Florida in 1966, and he worked for Pan American Airways as a radio mechanic. Returning to Illinois in 1971, he co-owned Arab Pest Control with his partner and friend, Jack Cobb. He and Sharon returned to central Florida in 1985, and he retired from the Florida Department of Transportation in 1998.
Billy was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
He was a member of St. John's Catholic Church, and an avid Cardinal baseball fan.
Funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 25, in St. John's Catholic Church, with the Rev. Dr. Eusebius Mbidoaka officiating.
Union Funeral Home in West Frankfort is in charge of arrangements.