Darla Castro: 1937 ~ 2017


Darla May Castro left this earth on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in the loving embrace of her family. Darla had just turned 80 years old in July. 
Darla was pretty happy about reaching that milestone and called herself an “oxygenarian” since her breathing had recently become more difficult. Darla’s absence in the Castro family and the community of Three Rivers — her home for 53 years — will be mourned for a long time. But the family would be honored if you will celebrate with us the dash between the day she entered this world and the day she left it. She lived a full and happy life.
The Castro family invites you to join them in honoring Darla  at a Mass on Sunday, Sept. 17, at 12 p.m., at St. Clair’s in Three Rivers, followed by a luncheon at St. Anthony Retreat at 1:30 p.m. Interment and graveside service will be the following Saturday, Sept. 23, at 11 a.m., at St. Joseph’s Church in Mariposa with a luncheon following at the Parish Hall.
Darla May was born July 14, 1937, to Ellen and Lonnie Jones in French Camp, Calif. She grew up and attended schools in El Portal and Mariposa where she met and married her high school sweetheart, Charlie Castro, an incredible marriage that lasted 63 years. 
Their five children were born in Yosemite before they moved to Three Rivers for Charlie’s work with the National Park Service. Once she got most of the kids grown, Darla took a job with the Valley Oak Credit Union and stayed with that job for 27 years, moving up the ladder to her final position as Executive Vice President. 
Darla loved her job and her co-workers, and she was a valued, dedicated team player. While she enjoyed her work, nothing was ever more important to Darla than her family — ever. 
She and Charlie never sat still too long, zipping between this grandkid’s play and that grandkid’s track meet and traveling the world with the High Sierra Jazz Band. They were on the road more than they were at home. 
Family and friends often commented on how “no one can keep up with those two.” Yes, her life was very full.  
Somehow Darla squeezed in a handful of volunteerism and social groups, including Lady Lions, the Catholic Church’s Altar Society, St. Anthony’s Gift Shop, the Three Rivers Woman’s Club thrift shop (The Thingerie), Comfort for Kids quilting project, and the Random Readers Book Club. Darla was a long-time member of St. Clair’s Catholic Church.
Darla was blessed to have not just her children’s families in her life, but also her four sisters:  Dayle Law, Diane Matlock, Denise Preston, and Doni Merrill, all who reside in the Mariposa area. These ladies have gone through many life and death events together; their love for each other is unstoppable. And their enjoyment of each other is undeniable and, when together, their laughter is contagious.
Darla was preceded in death by her oldest daughter, Charlotte. 
Those still here that will miss her terribly are her husband of 63 years, Charlie, of Three Rivers; son Charles S. (Butch) Castro and wife Colleen of Groveland and their children, Spencer, Rebecca, and Leanna; son Lawrence Castro and wife Kathleen of Mariposa and their children, Ben, Josh, Kaci, Ellie, and Amos;  daughter LeAnn Castleberry and husband Leo of Sonora and their children, Matt, Hannah, and Abby;  and son Eugene Castro and wife Robin of Three Rivers and their children, Kylie and Phoebe; and six great-grandchildren.  
Darla was often a quiet presence in the midst of her boisterous family. But when she had something to interject, she was given the floor. Her husband adored her, her children revered her, and her friends trusted and appreciated her kind and thoughtful spirit. 
She was the epitome of elegance and grace, but could fall into a fit of giggling that brought on tears. She never forgot anyone’s birthday or anniversary and always sent cards. Her boys will be hard-pressed to remember their own anniversaries without her “reminder” cards. 
Her long-term memory was scary good. She did crosswords in pen. Every dish she made fell under the description “presentation is everything.” She made maternity clothes, baby outfits, Halloween costumes, you name it. 
She had a way with gadgets and there wasn’t anything she couldn’t fix. She had a moral compass that didn’t waiver. She was an outstanding example of generosity and compassion. Such wonderful qualities and such a wonderful woman.

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