Johnnie Deryll “J.D.” Darnell

Johnnie Deryll “J.D” Darnell, age 72, passed away at Doctors Regional Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Nov. 23, 2020, surrounded by loving family. J.D. was a Kingsville resident and attended the First Presbyterian Church before moving to Corpus Christi in retirement. He will always be remembered as a gentle soul who found deep joy in life’s simplicities.

J.D. was born Oct. 30, 1948, in Cotulla, Texas, to Carl and Nina Darnell. A graduate of Texas A&I Kingsville in Industrial Arts, J.D. taught shop and technology classes in Corpus Christi for 29 years. Students fondly recall his patient demeanor and love of craftsmanship. 

J.D. lifted the hearts of many through his music and is best known for playing fiddle in the South Texas dance band, Sandy’s Six Pack. 

In retirement, J.D moved onto a sailboat with his wife and became a fixture of the Corpus Christi Marina, where there is hardly a sailor who hasn’t heard his honest tenor and breezy guitar.

A deeply devoted husband and father, J.D. loved taking his family on sailing and camping adventures. His memory lives on in the sea breeze and constellations, which he loved so dearly.

J.D. is survived by his wife Valerie; daughter Heather; son-in-law Bakari Kamau; siblings Bonnie (Chicho) Flores, Betty Mayes, and Barbara Lawrence; numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins; and his loving Norwegian Heel-Nipper, Billie.

A Celebration of Life will be held at the Corpus Christi Art Center on Thursday, June 24, 2021, at 4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Texas Tech University Vernacular Music Center. 

Checks can be made payable to Texas Tech Foundation, Inc. and mailed to Box 45025, Lubbock, TX 79409-5025 or on-line at

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