Tuesday, January 8, 2019

In Search Of... Florence Darlington
(aka Florence Darlington Moore)

Keeping up the momentum from Sunday's honkin' huge post, I think we can say at this point with 85 to 90 percent confidence that Florence Darlington Moore is the Florence Darlington we're looking for. The one who introduced my great-grandparents and thus helped, as one of the butterflies flapping its wings far away, to assure my existence.

We think we know:

  • She's from Delaware
  • Her mother was Ida L. Darlington, who died in 1925
  • She married Leon G. Moore, who died at age 72 in January 1966
  • She had a daughter named Jean Darlington Moore
  • Jean married World War II veteran John Woodside Croft, a South Carolina native, in May 1949

What we still don't know yet are the birth year or death year for Florence Darlington Moore. We think we know that she was alive, though, as late as May 1979, when someone with her name is mentioned as a survivor of her late sister, Helen.

So let's turn our attention today to her daughter and son-in-law. They lived more recently, and so it was easier to find a little about their lives.

  • John Woodside Croft was born on January 10, 1922, and died on February 12, 1977, at age 55.
  • Jean Moore Croft was born on July 26, 1924, and died on October 26, 2004, at age 80, having outlived her husband by 27 years.

Jean's obituary on Find A Grave, frustratingly, doesn't mention her parents:
Jean Moore Croft,
Rehoboth summer resident
Jean Moore Croft, 80, who spent summers in Rehoboth Beach, died Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2004, in Houston, Texas.

Mrs. Croft was born July 26, 1924, in Wilmington. She attended Stuart Hall Preparatory School in Staunton, Va. and graduated from Harcum Junior College in Bryn Mawr, Pa. Mrs. Croft spent every summer at the family's beach house in Rehoboth Beach. Although Mrs. Croft spent the majority of her adult life in the south, Rehoboth Beach was always "home."

Mrs. Croft was a member of The Junior League Tea Room, Houston Racquet Club, Retired Officers Wives Club and St. Martin's Episcopal Church.

She was preceded in death by her husband, John W. Croft, in 1977.

Mrs. Croft is survived by her children, Linda Moore Croft of Atlanta, Ga., Diane Croft Murray, Holly Croft Hardin and John W. Croft, Jr. all of Houston; and her grandchildren Laura Murray, Ryan Murray, John H. Croft, Cara Croft and William Hardin.

Services were held in the Old Church of St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Houston, Texas. An additional funeral service will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 6, 2004 at St. George's Chapel at Angola with burial following in the adjacent All Saints Cemetery where Mrs. Croft will be buried near her beloved hometown of Rehoboth Beach.

Contributions are suggested in loving memory of Mrs. Croft's husband to the American Cancer Society, P.O Box 570127, Houston, TX 77257.

Arrangements by Parsell Funeral Homes & Crematorium, Lewes.
So, she lived out her days in Texas, but was buried back near her "beloved" Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. I wonder if she's buried near her parents.

* * *


And it was then, using "Jean Moore Croft" as my search term in Newspapers.com, that I discovered Florence Darlington's obituary...

She died on Thursday, December 22, 1988. This is the entirety of her obituary in The News Journal of Wilmington, Delaware:
Florence D. Moore
REHOBOTH BEACH — Florence D. Moore, 94, of 11 Pennsylvania Ave., died Thursday of heart failure in Lewes Convalescent Center.

Mrs. Moore was a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Her husband, Leon G., died several years ago. She is survived by a daughter, Jean Moore Croft of Houston, Texas; four grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

Graveside services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday in All Saints Cemetery, Angola.
The "died several years ago" part about her husband is an understatement. She outlived her husband by 22 years. I'm a little bummed that the obituary doesn't include more information, such as when she was born. But we can assume, given that she died in late December 1988, that she was probably born 1894. Which is close to what I reckoned all along.

It looks like mother and daughter are, indeed, buried in the same cemetery: All Saints Cemetery in Angola, Delaware.

Here's a final fascinating bit of Twilight Zone level trivia: Florence Darlington Moore died exactly one week after my great-grandmother, Greta Miriam Chandler Adams, who herself had died at age 94 on December 15, 1988.


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