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Samuel Hunter Darnell
August 11, 2001 -
January 22, 2024

Visitation

January 25, 2024
4pm to 8pm

Service 

January 26, 2024
1pm

Interment

January 26, 2024
Obituary

Samuel Hunter “Sam” Darnell, a 22-year-old Business Management graduate from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga passed away on the 22nd day of January, 2024 from injuries sustained in a car accident.

His mother’s precious one and only boy, Sam was born August 11, 2001 to David and Marcheta Darnell from Kelso, Tennessee who adored their son and with whom they shared many fun adventures including “boy trips” with his Dad to 27 states and many National Parks to riding the rails to zip lining and going to Universal Studios on vacation whenever possible.  He was preceded in death by his grandfathers Mickey Darnell, Ray Winton, and his dog Max.

In addition to his parents, Sam is survived by his immediate family: aunt Laurie Winton with whom Sam shared an extremely close bond; grandmothers Doris Winton and Betty Darnell; aunt Lisa Crabtree, cousin Megan (Nathan) Green; half-sister, Tiffany (Steven) McKee; nephews Gage and Garrison McKee; uncle Larry (Sharon) Darnell; and three of the best friends anyone could ask for: LaRika Howard, Laura Vance, and Elizabeth Barnes Kelley. He also leaves behind a host of friends and an exuberant four-legged sibling, Boo who will miss him greatly.

Asked to carry Sam to his final resting place here on earth as pallbearers are friends Stewart Barnes, Jake Kelley, Stephen Yatsko, Will Clark, Mason Mullins, and Dalton Brown. Honorary pallbearers are Steven McKee, Gage McKee, Garrison McKee, Nathan Green, and Cooper Green.


Visitation with the family will be Thursday night, January 25th from 4:00 to 8:00 pm and prior to the funeral service on Friday, January 26th which will begin at 1:00 pm, both at the Washington Street Church of Christ. Wes Collum, J.B. Cox, and Charles Abernathy will preside over the service. Burial will be in Cedar Hills Memorial Gardens in Fayetteville, Tennessee. Higgins Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Sam loved trains from the time he was a small child and enjoyed going on many train rides around the country. His ultimate dream was to work for the Chicago Transit Authority improving the rail system for which he’d already researched, analyzed, and put together extensive plans. He could picture solutions in his head from a very young age, drawing mazes and maps (without erasers), so what was a little improvement to the rail system in Chicago?

A few of Sam’s favorite activities: Spending quality time with his friends; making others laugh; handing out candy when trick or treating (instead of just receiving it); colorful Christmas lights and watching Polar Express at Christmas every year; eating at Taco Mamacitas and Sushi Train; Black Friday shopping; goofing off and loving on dogs; going to concerts—his favorite artists being Lady Gaga, Sugarland, P!nk, and Nicki Minaj. He also had a deep affection for Dolly Parton such that he purchased a specialty plate for his car to support her Imagination Library.

Some of his favorite things: bright, bold colors; flip flops/sandals; red pandas; the unique and unusual; raw onions; cooking; fashion; Harry Potter (TeamHufflepuff!); Into the Woods—both play and movie; The Golden Girls and F.R.I.E.N.D.S. TV shows; the color blue; his Papa’s roasted red potatoes and onions; and his aunt Laurie’s cream cheese pound cake.

Sam loved entertainment, from movies to music to live theatre productions at the local theatre in his hometown, which he and his mother attended anytime a show was playing usually twice. If you would like to make a donation in memory of Sam, his family prefers those be made to the Carriage House Players, PO Box 916, Fayetteville, TN 37334.

Sam was always a truly good friend; kind, loyal, intentional, openhearted, and generous in telling all those he loved how he felt about them. He had a talent for connecting and encouraging people, especially those others discounted, overlooked, or ignored, and his family has already heard stories from so many of how deeply he impacted them. Sam had the best smile in the world and when he hugged you, it was with his entire being. His final act of friendship and care for others was in his decision on January 3rd to sign up to be a donor hero and save lives. Greater love hath no man than this…

Video Services

20 Comments

  1. Rita Perry

    Marcheta and David, so very sorry for your loss. I can really sympathize with you as I have lost a daughter. Prayers and love are with you at this time.May God comfort you in the hard days ahead. You are loved

    Reply
  2. Randy Hicks

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

    Reply
  3. Brenda Roles

    I am so sorry for your loss! May God hold you in his arms and give you peace.

    Reply
  4. Annie Clements

    I only know Sam through the glowing eyes, stories, pictures and love shown from his adoring mother, Marcheta Darnell, who is my co-worker. Sam was an amazing bundle of light, love, joy, adventure throughout his life on this earth. I am so very sorry for the loss of this amazing young man.

    Reply
  5. Barbara Ann Cunningham

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Sam’s entire family. I never met Sam but I feel like I knew him very well. His aunt Laurie, Winton and I are friends. I’ve heard Laurie talk about him so much she love that child more than life itself and I know her heart is broken.
    RIP Sam ♥️

    Reply
  6. Beverly Cox friend of Susan Thrasher

    Prayers for you

    Reply
  7. CURT GIBBS

    Having only met Sam once, It was apparent that he was a remarkable young man with a head full of ideas, aspirations, and dreams. I’m sure those are being carried out in a much greater capacity in heaven than here on earth. Thanks for the journey, courage, and strength from great parents for allowing us to step into your lives and share all the beautiful moments and memories. May God continue to comfort you and provide the strength that only he can deliver.

    Reply
  8. Elaine Denson

    I never met Sam but I feel as if I knew him. I have known his aunt Laurie for most of Sam’s life. Every story I heard about Sam you knew he was a terrific person. I pray that all the sweet memories of times spent with Sam will bring peace, and know the Lord is with you always.

    Reply
  9. Michael Costas

    I did not know Sam, but have a work relationship with his mother Marcheta. To say that we at BECHTEL are heartbroken is an understatement. Our thoughts and prayers are with Marcheta and her family. This is a tragic loss and we all stand with you. God Bless.

    Reply
  10. Sarah Beth Morgan

    I didn’t personally know Sam, but I worked with Marcheta Darnell for almost five years. I have two children around Sam’s age and am deeply saddened by this young man’s exit from this world so “prematurely”. I just know that God has a special place for Sam and the folks that receive his organs as part of Sam’s last act of selflessness will be forever grateful for Sam’s decision to be an Organ Donor Hero! He must have truly been a remarkable young man. I pray for Marcheta and David, for their extended family and all of the folks who were blessed to have known Sam personally. God Bless you all and receive Sam into his care for eternity.

    Reply
  11. Emily

    Me and sam worked together and he was so sweet and funny , he would never fail to make someone laugh , he’s going to be missed for sure , I love you Sam! 💙

    Reply
  12. Eloise Hudgins

    David and. Marcheta, so so sorry for your loss. It doesn’t seem possible that Sam was 22 years old. He was still a small boy when we attended Washington street. He was a truly outstanding young man. Please know that you are in our prayers. Love. Ronnie and Eloise Hudgins

    Reply
  13. Jeanie Hyde

    I didn’t know this young man or his family but I am very touched by the way he lead his life and his love for all around him. Prayers to his family and friends.

    Reply
  14. Elizabeth Barnes

    My favorite memories of Sam are hanging out with him at y’all’s house after church. He would sometimes walk to our house and knock on the door to ask my mom if I could come over. We would then take the long walk back down y’all’s driveway. One time my cat followed behind us and even though we were almost all the way there, I was worried he wouldn’t find his way back home so we turned all the way back to take the cat back.

    I have fond memories of making up our own rules to a game using Pokemon cards. For some reason, Sam insisted he always got the shiny cards (which were always the most powerful Pokemon). Hmmm. There was one weaker bunny-looking character that I always claimed because it was cute. I also remember grabbing Fudge Pops from the freezer and playing Zoo Tycoon, Rollercoaster Tycoon, and Poptropica for hours on Mr. David’s computer. Sam was always so creative with his rollercoaster designs and layouts of his zoo. I always just put things in a straight line. I also remember taking all the cushions off the couch, one of us laying down, and the other covering us back up with the pillows and jumping on top of each other. I’m sure that wasn’t good for the cushions, but for some reason we thought it was hilarious (sorry Mrs. Marcheta).

    I am so glad that we made such an effort to stay in touch even after we both left for college. He was such a good friend to me, always being willing to listen and talk things out. I so value the 22 years we spent together. I will think of him every time I eat Sonic, hear Nicki MInaj or Ariana Grande on the radio, or I am back home in Kelso where so many of our memories were made.

    Reply
  15. Karen Gilliam

    My deepest sympathy to Sam’s friends and family. May you all be comforted through the Lord now and in the days ahead.

    Reply
  16. Steve and Jennifer Clarke

    We are unbelievably sadden by this news. I remember fishing with Sam and laughing together. He will be missed and our strongest prayers we send to help you and all of your family deal with this great loss.

    Reply
  17. Reid Benton

    I will be praying for Sam and his family. I watched him grow up. We fly fished together with TVFF guys on the White River. Memories!

    Reply
  18. Debbie Metcalf

    My deepest condolences to Marcheta & David…you two raised a fine young man…he will never b forgotten…you are in my thoughts & prayers…may the Lord be with you now & forever…God Bless you & may he wrap his arms around all of Sam’s family & friends at this challenging time…In Christian Love, Debbie Metcalf

    Reply
  19. Kathy Shook Brown

    My prayers for you and your family. Sam sounds like a good man and, that is a great accomplishment in a parent’s eyes. May peace and comfort be yours in the following days, months and years.

    Reply
  20. Geneva Shields

    I wanted Marcheta and David, although I haven’t met you, David, and all the family to know about the precious amount of time I spent with Sam one day when His grandparents had to go somewhere and I came and stayed with Sam..

    We had so much fun, although he was very young. I can’t remember exactly what we did, but both of us enjoyed it so much. He was such a sweet kid and LOVED TO LAUGH.

    Reply

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Memories

20 Comments

  1. Rita Perry

    Marcheta and David, so very sorry for your loss. I can really sympathize with you as I have lost a daughter. Prayers and love are with you at this time.May God comfort you in the hard days ahead. You are loved

    Reply
  2. Randy Hicks

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

    Reply
  3. Brenda Roles

    I am so sorry for your loss! May God hold you in his arms and give you peace.

    Reply
  4. Annie Clements

    I only know Sam through the glowing eyes, stories, pictures and love shown from his adoring mother, Marcheta Darnell, who is my co-worker. Sam was an amazing bundle of light, love, joy, adventure throughout his life on this earth. I am so very sorry for the loss of this amazing young man.

    Reply
  5. Barbara Ann Cunningham

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Sam’s entire family. I never met Sam but I feel like I knew him very well. His aunt Laurie, Winton and I are friends. I’ve heard Laurie talk about him so much she love that child more than life itself and I know her heart is broken.
    RIP Sam ♥️

    Reply
  6. Beverly Cox friend of Susan Thrasher

    Prayers for you

    Reply
  7. CURT GIBBS

    Having only met Sam once, It was apparent that he was a remarkable young man with a head full of ideas, aspirations, and dreams. I’m sure those are being carried out in a much greater capacity in heaven than here on earth. Thanks for the journey, courage, and strength from great parents for allowing us to step into your lives and share all the beautiful moments and memories. May God continue to comfort you and provide the strength that only he can deliver.

    Reply
  8. Elaine Denson

    I never met Sam but I feel as if I knew him. I have known his aunt Laurie for most of Sam’s life. Every story I heard about Sam you knew he was a terrific person. I pray that all the sweet memories of times spent with Sam will bring peace, and know the Lord is with you always.

    Reply
  9. Michael Costas

    I did not know Sam, but have a work relationship with his mother Marcheta. To say that we at BECHTEL are heartbroken is an understatement. Our thoughts and prayers are with Marcheta and her family. This is a tragic loss and we all stand with you. God Bless.

    Reply
  10. Sarah Beth Morgan

    I didn’t personally know Sam, but I worked with Marcheta Darnell for almost five years. I have two children around Sam’s age and am deeply saddened by this young man’s exit from this world so “prematurely”. I just know that God has a special place for Sam and the folks that receive his organs as part of Sam’s last act of selflessness will be forever grateful for Sam’s decision to be an Organ Donor Hero! He must have truly been a remarkable young man. I pray for Marcheta and David, for their extended family and all of the folks who were blessed to have known Sam personally. God Bless you all and receive Sam into his care for eternity.

    Reply
  11. Emily

    Me and sam worked together and he was so sweet and funny , he would never fail to make someone laugh , he’s going to be missed for sure , I love you Sam! 💙

    Reply
  12. Eloise Hudgins

    David and. Marcheta, so so sorry for your loss. It doesn’t seem possible that Sam was 22 years old. He was still a small boy when we attended Washington street. He was a truly outstanding young man. Please know that you are in our prayers. Love. Ronnie and Eloise Hudgins

    Reply
  13. Jeanie Hyde

    I didn’t know this young man or his family but I am very touched by the way he lead his life and his love for all around him. Prayers to his family and friends.

    Reply
  14. Elizabeth Barnes

    My favorite memories of Sam are hanging out with him at y’all’s house after church. He would sometimes walk to our house and knock on the door to ask my mom if I could come over. We would then take the long walk back down y’all’s driveway. One time my cat followed behind us and even though we were almost all the way there, I was worried he wouldn’t find his way back home so we turned all the way back to take the cat back.

    I have fond memories of making up our own rules to a game using Pokemon cards. For some reason, Sam insisted he always got the shiny cards (which were always the most powerful Pokemon). Hmmm. There was one weaker bunny-looking character that I always claimed because it was cute. I also remember grabbing Fudge Pops from the freezer and playing Zoo Tycoon, Rollercoaster Tycoon, and Poptropica for hours on Mr. David’s computer. Sam was always so creative with his rollercoaster designs and layouts of his zoo. I always just put things in a straight line. I also remember taking all the cushions off the couch, one of us laying down, and the other covering us back up with the pillows and jumping on top of each other. I’m sure that wasn’t good for the cushions, but for some reason we thought it was hilarious (sorry Mrs. Marcheta).

    I am so glad that we made such an effort to stay in touch even after we both left for college. He was such a good friend to me, always being willing to listen and talk things out. I so value the 22 years we spent together. I will think of him every time I eat Sonic, hear Nicki MInaj or Ariana Grande on the radio, or I am back home in Kelso where so many of our memories were made.

    Reply
  15. Karen Gilliam

    My deepest sympathy to Sam’s friends and family. May you all be comforted through the Lord now and in the days ahead.

    Reply
  16. Steve and Jennifer Clarke

    We are unbelievably sadden by this news. I remember fishing with Sam and laughing together. He will be missed and our strongest prayers we send to help you and all of your family deal with this great loss.

    Reply
  17. Reid Benton

    I will be praying for Sam and his family. I watched him grow up. We fly fished together with TVFF guys on the White River. Memories!

    Reply
  18. Debbie Metcalf

    My deepest condolences to Marcheta & David…you two raised a fine young man…he will never b forgotten…you are in my thoughts & prayers…may the Lord be with you now & forever…God Bless you & may he wrap his arms around all of Sam’s family & friends at this challenging time…In Christian Love, Debbie Metcalf

    Reply
  19. Kathy Shook Brown

    My prayers for you and your family. Sam sounds like a good man and, that is a great accomplishment in a parent’s eyes. May peace and comfort be yours in the following days, months and years.

    Reply
  20. Geneva Shields

    I wanted Marcheta and David, although I haven’t met you, David, and all the family to know about the precious amount of time I spent with Sam one day when His grandparents had to go somewhere and I came and stayed with Sam..

    We had so much fun, although he was very young. I can’t remember exactly what we did, but both of us enjoyed it so much. He was such a sweet kid and LOVED TO LAUGH.

    Reply

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