I recently received an unexpected e-mail from my writer-friend, Marie. “Darin passed away.”
Darin? My oxen expert?
“But he was fairly young, wasn’t he?” I couldn’t wrap my mind around the reality. He was not that old but of course, death is not discerning of age when it comes to its victims.
“Darin hadn’t been feeling well and had some chest pain, which they think he mistook for indigestion because they found some acid reflux medicine,” Marie wrote.
Though I never knew Darin in person, he had become my go-to guy when I had a question about the lives and habits of the huge beasts of burden that were used in Colonial America. His cousin-in-law, Marie, had connected us on Facebook. She knew I wrote about Colonial America and she recommended his expertise for everything “oxen.”
And Darin never let me down. He never made any question that I had seem too trivial for him to take the time to answer. I so appreciated his help for writing a scene in “Fields of the Fatherless,” that I put his name in my acknowledgements. I did so proudly. Not everyone can claim an oxen-expert for their contacts. 🙂
Even in my brief Facebook exchanges with Darin, I sensed a warm and caring person—someone who loved the animals he cared for in his job at Colonial Williamsburg as well as a gentle spirit who cared about people.
That became even more evident when I saw the memorial tributes posted on his Facebook Page. Here are a few of the posts from friends and co-workers:
– He was such a gentleman
– Darin was one of “the good guys”
– A gentle giant with a warm, friendly smile
– Darin Tschopp will be missed tremendously. So saddened to hear the world has lost such a kind man.
– He loved God!! And he was a man of God!! He loved history and he loved sharing it with others. It was his life!! There is so much more I could say but the biggest thing would be to say that I will miss you, Darin Tschopp, But the most important thing would be to say is that I will see you in heaven because I know that you loved your Savior.
I still cannot fathom that Darin is gone. Whenever I have a question about oxen in my future books, I will remember him. And miss his kind manner. I am so grateful that I was able to send Darin a signed copy of my book before he passed into eternity. Had I put that off, I would have regretted it always.
We are never assured of tomorrow. But death is assured for all. Never put off doing good unto others for another day. Their tomorrow—or yours—might not exist on this earth. As another of Darin’s friends wrote, “Life is precious, dear friends. Don’t waste a moment.”
I never met you face-to-face on earth, brother Darin. But I look forward to meeting you one day in heaven. I’ll look for the kind keeper of the animals.
And I’ll end with one more message of love from a friend:
“Fair winds and following seas, brother. Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand. You will be missed.”
Cynthia Howerter says
I met an oxen master at Colonial Williamsburg this past Thanksgiving – I’m wondering if it was Darin.
It likely was Darin, Cynthia. He was a big man with a kind heart. He will be missed by many.