The Port Arthur News
James "Poochie" Darby (Mr. D) was born in Waterproof, LA to Edward & Louise Darby on August 26, 1928. He had two sisters Clara (Susie) and Grace. He was raised in Port Arthur graduating from Thomas Jefferson high school with the class of 1947.
He is preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Trella. He is survived by his three children-Bart Darby and wife Laura of Coraopolis, Pa, Claire Thomason and husband Larry of Port Arthur, Leslie Brayton and husband James of Bridge City and Fred, his Pomeranian. He is also survived by his grandchildren-Daryl Darby and wife Lisa of Kingwood, Michele Hedrick and husband Glenn of Austin, Tyler Gorrell and wife Casey of Santa Clarita, Ca., Adam Gorrell of Beaumont and three great-grandchildren-Kaelie Darby, Paige Watson and Ella Hedrick. Others cherishing his memory include Julie and Eric Olivares, Melissa and Tim Whisenant and Jay Brayton and Michelle and a host of nieces and nephews.
He drove a truck for Coca Cola and worked as a sales representative for Gulf Oil Corporation before being named the youngest Gulf Oil distributor. Although resources were tight he managed to start building a legacy that would one day be a household name in the Golden Triangle-Poochie's, a chain of convenience stores that beared his nickname.
His children often joked that their blood ran orange, not red, with the close ties he would share with "the Gulf". He was proud of his accomplishments, but what he was most proud of were the many lives he touched. He absolutely loved being around people. He employed just about all of his nieces, nephews, cousins and other close relatives at one time or another and brought many more into his business family. He saw many people move on to start families of their own and set their own career paths. He was generous beyond words assisting countless non-profit organizations and saw more than one generation of local softball and baseball teams thrive.
He loved Port Arthur! And Port Arthur loved him-August 1, 1993 was proclaimed Jim Darby Day! His home base was Port Arthur and his focus was community involvement. He always emphasized how fortunate he was to live in a community that was so giving.
He sat on many a board of directors giving of his time to ensure his resources were available-this meant not only monetary but involvement from his employees as well. Parades were attended, telethons, community projects, festivals-Cavoilcade, Music Festival, Shrimpfest-he was there!
He was a member of the Lion's club and the Noon Sertoma club. How many countless hours did he stay in downtown during the early years of Mardi Gras? He might have just set up camp he thought, so he did!! Didn't matter-he partied hard and worked even harder to help make any event a success. If he was around, you heard him!!
He was honored on many occasions for many different things but to him the honor was giving back to the communities that allowed his business to thrive.
He was loved and admired by many but none as much as his family, his kids who will always have the utmost respect for a man they lovingly referred to as "Poochie-Daddy" . Claire and Leslie would like to acknowledge his devoted and loving caregivers-his "adopted" daughters-Courtney Cormier, Aimee Jacobs, Leisa Clavelle and Jan Meyers. He absolutely adored the loving attention and care given him by these remarkable ladies. They have a lasting place in our hearts for taking such excellent care of Mr. Poochie or "Boss Man" as they so lovingly referred to him.
His many hobbies included golfing, bowling, fishing and hunting-he counted the days until the next trip to South Dakota or Harlingen.
A gathering of family and friends will be held on Tuesday, January 21, 2014, from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at Grammier-Oberle Funeral Home. Funeral Services will be held at 10:00a.m., Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at Grammier-Oberle Funeral Home with entombment to follow at Greenlawn Memorial Park, Groves.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to the Community Home of Port Arthur, Noon Sertoma.
Condolences may be offered at: www.grammier-oberle.com