J. Darwin Colby
1/8/16 – 11/12/14
Orangevale, California/Salina, Utah – Our beloved father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, cousin and friend, Joseph Darwin Colby, 98, passed away peacefully, November 12, 2014 in Carmichael, California, after enduring failing health the last couple of years. Darwin was born January 8, 1916 to LeRoy and Sarah Elizabeth Crane Colby in Salina, Utah, where he grew up. He attended SalinaHigh School where he enjoyed playing basketball.
Darwin started his young, adult life working at the Hoover Dam (formerly Boulder Dam) project from 1931 through 1935. Darwin was the youngest man hired at 15 ½ years old and was officially the last surviving worker from the project. In December 1935, he enlisted in the Navy and served honorably with a discharge rating of Fireman 1st Class. Shortly after that time, he worked in the ship yards of Alameda / OaklandCalifornia during World War II.
After the war, Darwin moved back to Utah and while living and working in a drug store and for a mortuary in Salt Lake City, he met and married Alice Laura (Guild) Colby of Salt Lake City in her parent’s home on October 6, 1942. Darwin and Alice started their lives together by moving back to California where he spent a short time at HealdEngineeringSchool in San Francisco, but found a stronger desire to work the mortuary business. After completing embalming school, he and his wife, moved to Stockton, California to begin his career at B. C. Wallace Funeral Home. Their first child, Dara Lee, was a still born in 1945. A few years later he entered his successful real estate career in Stockton, building J. Darwin Colby Real Estate Company. A daughter, Cathleen, was born in 1947 and a son, Joseph (Joe) Darwin, Jr. was born in 1952. In 1955 he earned his private pilot’s license and purchase a Cessna air plane. He enjoyed flying to Mexico to do sail fishing and to Wyoming to go Elk hunting. He and Alice divorced in 1956.
In 1966 he married Jenny Neomia Mitchell and soon acquired 40 acres of land in Modesto, California and grew rice. He had a fond love of the farming life. A good day on the farm was when he was in his air conditioned Kabota tractor or running the combine at harvest. After Jenny’s death in 1989, Darwin met and married Wana Jean Walker and lived in Orangevale, California. She died in 2007.
Darwin enjoyed traveling back to Utah for the opening of deer season and hunted in SalinaCanyon most every year after moving to California. He could also be found at FishLake at the opening of fishing season each year until his health prevented him from traveling. Some of Darwin’s greatest delights were having family around and sharing stories both old and new; deep sea fishing and fishing at Lake Tahoe. Although he lived and worked in California, his heart was still in Salina and Utah. It was a great delight to him to be able to assist the Salina Fire Dept in the purchase of a water truck and other much needed equipment for the new fire house.
Darwin was preceded in death by his parents and infant daughter, Dara Lee as well as his siblings, June (Colby) Monroe, Vee Colby, Donald Bryant Colby, Lillian Burnell (Colby) Miner, Therresa (Colby) Rasmussen, Murvin LeRoy Colby, and Gerald Charles Colby.
He is survived by his daughter, Cathleen Leonard (Travis) of Woodbridge, California, Joseph Darwin Colby, Jr. (Ami), Burelson, Texas, step-children Ron Walker, Roy Walker, Wesley Walker, Delvin Walker; grandchildren: Christopher Lee Swank (Michelle), Hilary Noelle Zumbrennen (George), Elizabeth Agothy Rodgers (Jesse); great-grandchildren: Christopher Lee Swank Jr, Sterling Robert Swank, Nathaniel Curtis Swank, Chandler Colby Swank, and Ashley Nicole Swank, Stephanie Zumbrennen, Ian Zumbrennen, Jackson Frederic Rodgers; 7 step-grandchildren and 6 step-great-grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews; a sister-in-law: Vonda Colby of Richfield.
He will be fondly remembered and greatly missed by all family and friends.
Grave side services will be held Saturday, November 22, 2014 at 12 Noon at the SalinaEastsideCemetery. Friends may visit with the family at the SalinaFireDepartmentBuilding, 40 North 100 West in Salina, Saturday morning from 10:30 to 11:30 prior to the services.
Burial with military honors accorded by the Salina American Legion Post #36 and the Utah Honor Guard will be in the EastsideCemetery under the care of the Springer Turner Funeral Home of Richfield and Salina, Utah.
On line guest book at: www.springerturner.com