Mission Viejo nurse, 71, worked during the pandemic and died of COVID-19 – Press Enterprise
They met in 1968, at Leaky Tiki near Sacramento. She was nursing one cup of Coke with a friend because there was only a quarter between them. He was in the Air Force, there to see a friend who plays drums in a rock ‘n’ roll band.
Turns out they both love to dance.
Barbara Green and Steve Dark married in 1970 and had a small wedding in Anaheim that cost $500 – dress included. They bought a house in Irvine, had two sons, and then Barbara Darke went back to school to become a registered nurse.
Taking care of the sick was her life’s mission, and the primary reason she lived on Earth, she decided – and that’s why she continued to work during the pandemic, even with a type of leukemia. It was not clear how the COVID-19 vaccine would affect her. You didn’t get one. Her faith was fierce.
Days after celebrating their 51st wedding anniversary on July 4, Darke is starting to feel ill. She fought it as best she could—she didn’t want to miss a visit with her grandchildren—but once they left, she went to urgent care. She tested positive for COVID-19 and was admitted to Providence Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, where she has worked for decades.
Darhk was worried about those who came to check on her, and when she was unable to speak, she would write “How are you today?” On the pillow beside her bed. She boarded after five weeks in the hospital, but her lungs were weak. She suffered from subsequent infections and died on September 6. Darke was 71 years old.
“She felt like she was doing God’s work,” said her husband, Steve Dark. “She thought her goal was to take care of people, and she did. It wasn’t anything about her. It was about everyone else.”
Those who have worked with Darke are devastated.
“She was a mentor and mentor to many of us nurses,” said Karen Helburg’s friend. “A real inspiration. Many of us started out as new nurses and Barbara’s mentors. She lived to help others. It was the calling of her life. It is a real loss for us.”
Elkins told me Darke is a special part of her. “She gave me the most important gift — finding a way to just laugh so hard when you want to cry. She was an angel long before she was an angel,” Elkins wrote in an online tribute.
In Heart Unit, Darke takes Laura Partridge under her wing and teaches her one of the most important lessons: that there are things you can’t control, so you have to let go. “Frozen” was a hit at the time, and the two wrote their signature song, “Let It Go,” as written in homage.
“I love Barbara’s patients and all the caregivers and doctors who have had the pleasure of knowing and working with her,” said Carrie Arneth Miller, a spokeswoman for Providence Mission Hospital. “She has dedicated over 28 years to nursing and will be remembered for the loving and positive spirit she shares with everyone. We will miss her very much.”
Darke liked to go dancing in crowded places. She was proud to be the fun-loving grandmother of her nine grandchildren, playing board games and card games, dressing up in goofy costumes, and taking them to concerts at the lake, theme parks, tidal pools and the zoo.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, September 24 at Crossline Community Church, Laguna Hills. The burial will follow at El Toro Memorial Park in Lake Forest. The family requests that any contributions to their memory be made to Providence World, https://providenceworld.com/invest/ Or Mount Hermon https://www.mounthermon.org/give/.
The Celebration of Life will take place from 2-6pm on Saturday, September 25 at Saddleback Church Lower Rancho Capistrano Field, 29251 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano.
“I just loved people”
“Feeling like she’s at the gates of heaven, so excited for the party that’s about to begin,” wrote Elkins’ friend. “She’s just loved people, and she’s been a great nurse to understand a lot of human nature. She’ll have a great time there and keep an eye on things for all of us.
“I personified ‘leadership with love’. I am so fortunate that God put it in my life as part of my calling to nursing, and my first two years of practice. It has always made the worst situations seem like God’s beautiful plan – sometimes silly – but it is always perfect. It is a friendship I will miss. severely.”