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Darla Delores (Kusel) Johnson

Posted 2017-05-19 by Judy Wight Branson
The Daily Courier, Prescott, Arizona
Sunday, May 14, 2017, page 6a

Darla Dolores (Kusel-Chilcote) Johnson, beloved teacher, mother, and friend, “graduated” to eternal life with her Lord, Jesus Christ, on March 19, 2017.

She was born under the Teapot Dome in Midwest, Wyoming, to Hazel Mae Taylor-Kusel and Frank Kusel on the first day of spring, March 21, 1936. Her parents soon moved to Casper, Wyoming, where they were recognized as members of pioneer families, outstanding members of the community, and devout members of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Casper.

As a young lady, Darla studied ballet with Nina Yuskevitch, Bronislava Nijinska, and the Christiansen brothers of the San Francisco Ballet where she earned a ballet scholarship to Utah University. Later, she earned a BA Degree, Magna Cum Laude in English from Idaho State University. While studying there, she was a member of Idaho State’s Shakespearian Repertory Theater, playing leading roles in the company. She continued her education with an MA in English from Wyoming University and post graduate work at Stanford University and the University of San Diego. She, most of all, was a teacher having taught over 50 years: Pocatello High School, Idaho; Natrona County High School and Casper College, Wyoming; Cubberley High School and Foothills College, California; Morgan State College, Maryland; Mountain States Technical Institute, Bradshaw Mountain High School and Yavapai College. She was named Rotary Teacher of the Year and Arizona State Teacher of the Year for Law Related Education.

Darla was a fun-loving, devoted mother who served as a “horse show mother” for her son Todd who rode many victories on his Arabians during the 80’s; and a guide to her son Paul who walked in his mother’s moccasins, teaching. She is survived by her son Paul Kassis Johnson of Corpus Christi, Texas; and was preceded in death by her son Franklin “TODD” Chilcote.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 18, at St. Barnabas on the Desert Episcopal Church, 6715 North Mocking Bird Lane, Paradise Valley, Arizona. Arrangements entrusted to Messinger Indian School Mortuary, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Information provided by survivors.

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