John Paige Darden, 81, of West Mount Airy, a former math and science teacher and deacon, died Tuesday, April 15, at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania from multiple organ failure.
Born in Atlantic City, Mr. Darden graduated from Atlantic City High School in 1950. In 1961, he earned his bachelor's degree from Wilberforce University in Ohio, where he pledged Alpha Phi Alpha. He earned his master's degree in education from Temple University in 1971.
Mr. Darden served four years in the Air Force, beginning in 1952, during the Korean War. He was discharged as an airman first class.
He spent much of his life in the classroom, at church, and with his family. He and his wife, Mary, whom he married in 1966, both worked in the Philadelphia School District. Mr. Darden taught math and science for 30 years before retiring in the mid-1990s.
Mr. Darden was active at Mount Zion Baptist Church of Germantown, where he was a deacon, former chairman of the deacon board, former superintendent of the Sunday school program, and a choir member.
After retiring, he spent time with his family and traveling with his wife to such places as Egypt and Jerusalem.
His son John Jr. recalled his father helping him buy his first car and first house. "He gave me the building blocks on how to be a man and live my life," he said.
Chanelle Bailey Darden, his daughter-in-law, said: "If you go into the West Mount Airy community, a lot of people know who John Darden was. He was a very memorable man and people hold him in high regard."
In addition to his son, Mr. Darden is survived by another son, Kent; a grandson; three brothers; and one sister. His wife died in 2013.
A viewing was set for 8 a.m. Saturday, April 19, at Mount Zion Baptist Church of Germantown, 41 W. Rittenhouse St., with a funeral service at 10. Burial will be in Ivy Hill Cemetery.