Darla Jean Hatcher
  • 59 years old
  • Date of birth:  January 1st, 1956
  • Place of birth:
    Artesia, California, United States
  • Date of passing:  September 12th, 2015
  • Place of passing:
    San Jose, California, United States

Darla was, without a doubt, the sweetest person we ever knew.  She was beautiful, strong, patient, kind, gentle and all things a loving mother should be.  Our "Little Momma” was a beacon of Christ’s love and light to all who knew her, a faithful and loving wife to Tom, her husband of 30 years, and the absolute best mother a woman could be to her four adoring daughters, Leslie (28), Kimberly (26), Rachel (23), and Jillian (17).  She also recently added two sons: Frankie Parish (Leslie’s husband) and Josh Pritchett (Kimberly’s husband), whom she loved as if they were her own.  Add to that Cameron Day (Darla’s pick for Rachel) who would surely testify that he, too, feels as if he was already added to the clan.

After a two-and-a-half year battle with cancer, Darla finally found ultimate comfort and relief from her pain on Saturday, September 12, 2015. Surrounded by her family, she left us to rest in the arms of her savior, Jesus Christ.  Darla's grace and unshakeable faith were constantly on display, even in the midst of unspeakable pain, and never more evident than in her last moments when she offered her final words in a prayer of thanksgiving: "I love this beautiful world you made."

Darla was born to Ernie and Hazel Spencer very early in the morning on New Year's Day, 1956, the first baby born in Artesia, CA, that year. She graduated from Millikan HS (Long Beach, CA) in 1974, received her R.N. degree from Mt. San Antonio College in 1981, and added a BS in Healthcare Management from the University of La Verne in 1986.

Darla’s heart of service was evident to all who knew her, and to countless more that she touched. Over the course of her career as a nurse she served thousands of patients at various locations and in a variety of roles. In addition to her professional vocation, she was also an active volunteer in many communities. She was heavily involved in the Shadow Brook Swim Club, where all four of her daughters swam for the Shadow Brook Sharks.  For many years, Darla helped organize and run the nursery and children’s ministries at Mercy Hill Church. She also helped facilitate and host countless church home groups over the years alongside her husband Tom.  In addition, Darla was actively involved in parent activities and leadership groups at her children’s schools, Los Gatos Christian Elementary School and Valley Christian High School in San Jose.

Despite all this, Darla’s ideal afternoon was spent at home, in her pajamas, watching football from her spot on the family room couch while surrounded by her loving family.  (Unless the game got too close, of course, because Little Momma’s gentle spirit would never allow her to stay in the room when a game got too intense or went down to the wire!) We know this was her heartfelt desire because that is what she chose to do every year on her birthday, the day of the Rose Parade, Rose Bowl and numerous other college bowl games, all of which she felt were held in her honor. She was a true sports enthusiast and loved to attend live sporting events as well as watch them on TV.

There are not enough words or pages in this publication to capture the complete person that Darla was and how much she meant to so many during her brief time in this world.  She was the picture of Christ’s love and compassion for all who knew her. And although it is devastating at present to imagine a world without Darla, it is a comfort to know that she has certainly found ultimate peace and ultimate joy and that we will see her again in glory on that final day.

Thanks to all who attended the memorial service for Darla at Saint Timothy's on Saturday, Sept. 19th.  The family appreciates all the love and support we received and all the memories that were shared.

If you desire to honor Darla by making a donation in her name, the family requests that you please make it to the Stanford Cancer Institute by going online to www.cancer.stanford.edu/help/gift.html

Memorial Tributes
Candle lit by  Philip Thibault  on September 21st, 2015


I saw a note on the Millikan alumni Facebook page.  My condolences to you and your family on the passing of your wife.  I know you and your wife were so proud of your girls.

Leave a Tribute:
Invite your family and friends to visit this memorial:

Subscribe to receive e-mail notifications when others contribute to this memorial.

This memorial is administered by:

Tom Hatcher

Created in partnership with

San Jose Mercury News



Have a suggestion for us?

We are waiting for your feedback!