Darel Stephen Johnson of Sugar Mill in New Smyrna Beach, FL passed away peacefully in Jacksonville, FL on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. His wife, Mary Jane, his sweetheart since high school days, predeceased him in May, 2015.
Darel graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY in 1959. His service in the Army included multiple tours in Viet Nam and West Germany, as well as many other postings. His active military service culminated in Washington DC, where he applied skills and experience as both a fixed wing and rotary wing pilot to policy making. Darel retired with the rank of Colonel and then continued to serve the Department of Defense as a member of the Senior Executive Service. Darel loved his job as Principal Director for European and NATO Policy in the service of four different presidents: Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton.
Darel obtained post graduate degrees from George Mason University and the University of Southern California.
Army life had moved Darel and Mary Jane among nearly 30 different homes over the years. When time came for retirement, they actively searched for a permanent home in a warmer climate in which Darel could pursue his passion for golf. Their search led them to Sugar Mill, where they built a home in 1997 and became active members of the community. Darel was a long time golfing member of Sugar Mill, and served the Club in many capacities, including several terms as the Club’s President.
Darel is survived by son Jeffrey of San Diego, California, daughter Jennifer Marcus, son-in-law Bob Marcus and grandchildren Kwame, Josie and Joshua of Raleigh, North Carolina, brothers Ken of Sugar Mill and Emil of Bradenton, FL and many nieces and nephews.
A service will be held at Our Lady of the Sea Roman Catholic Church, 4000 S. Atlantic Ave., New Smyrna Beach FL at 11:00 on Tuesday, April 12, followed by a reception at Sugar Mill Country Club at 1 PM. Interment will take place later this month at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that contributions in Darel’s memory be made to Halifax Health Hospice in SEVCC, 4140 South Ridgewood Avenue, Edgewater, FL 32141.