On Sunday, August 6, 2017, Helen Leflar Darling left this world leaving a deep void in the hearts of her husband, children, family and friends. This tiny, feisty woman lit up a room for over 91 years with her infectious smile and laughter. Her quick wit, sense of humor and long colorful stories were limitless.

Helen Leflar Darling
On Sunday, August 6, 2017, Helen Leflar Darling left this world leaving a deep void in the hearts of her husband, children, family and friends. This tiny, feisty woman lit up a room for over 91 years with her infectious smile and laughter. Her quick wit, sense of humor and long colorful stories were limitless.
Born on December 18, 1925 to Ora Lee Neely and William Godbey Leflar at Abbott Ranch, Haskell County, Texas, she was welcomed into this world by her older brothers William LeeRoy and James Welton Leflar both of whom preceded her in death. (A third brother Olen Godbey Leflar died before Helen's birth.)
Helen was a talented woman. She could sing, arrange flowers, paint, bake and cook with the best. An avid competitor, she played basketball, tennis, bowled, poker, card games, dominoes, and water-skied. Most of all she loved playing the domino game '42' with her family.
A woman before her time, Helen possessed the drive and determination to 'have it all' as a wife, mother and businesswoman. She began her career as a health care expert as the medical records librarian at Shamrock General Hospital in Shamrock, Texas. Later, she went on to manage skilled nursing care centers in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. She held licenses as a medical record librarian, dietitian, and nursing home administrator. She also earned an Associates Degree from Amarillo College, Amarillo, Texas. Developing a reputation for excellence in turning around a troubled facility, she later branched out as a long term care consultant starting her own firm LTC Consulting where she advised several of the long term and skilled nursing centers in Kansas. Industry experts and state legislators sought her expertise until she retired at 72. She then began serving on several local Boards of Directors.
Helen's heart and soul - her pride and joy - were her family. Center to Helen's universe was her beloved husband of 37 years, Lester G. (aka 'LG' or 'Dick') Darling of Hutchinson, Kansas. Anyone whom knew Helen and Lester are quite familiar with their nicknames for one another: 'Sugar Bear', 'Papa Bear' and 'Babe'. So often 'Yo! Babe!' would be heard from one side of their home with the response of 'Yeah, Babe?' coming from another part of the house with the two of them meeting in the middle. Helen's heart would melt whenever Lester would grin, wink and softly say, 'Ah, now come on, Sugar Bear' Helen and Lester were beloved by their Moose Lodge friends and their church family. They loved to dance, hold hands, cuddle and tease. They depended on each other for strength, and shared unconditional love and commitment to one another. They loved fishing, taking road trips to visit family, taking cruises, and exploring this country hand in hand. When Lester would say, 'I loved you first.', Helen would reply, 'No, I loved you first!' or 'I love you more!'
Helen was a powerhouse of a mother in a small five-foot, two and a quarter inch, 120-pound frame. She passionately loved her children, grand children and great-grandchildren. She never missed a school or sporting event, play, or music concert despite her demanding work schedule. Helen defined unconditional love.
Five children came from her first marriage: Elaine Vinyard, Suzanne Pritchard, Stephen Hardin, Carolyn Hardin-Levine; and Alicia Hamilton. To them, Helen was known simply as 'Mother.' Later Helen became 'Mom' to Lester's sons David Darling, Dallas Darling, and Duane Darling. She also loved her son and daughter-in-laws Philip Vinyard (recently deceased), Peter Hardin-Levine, and Brian Hamilton, Ellen Hardin, Jill Darling, Beverly Darling, and Sherri Darling.
Helen will be missed by 22 grandchildren (Carey, Jennifer, Paula, Brian, PJ, Ashley, Matthew, Jackie, Katie, Rachel, Evan, Daniel, Allen, Reese, Guy, Brynn, Haylee Jo, Trenton, Aaron, Brock, Stacy, and Kevin); 23 great-grandchildren and multiple in-laws, nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Though she no longer walks this earth, Helen Leflar Darling lives on in the hearts, memories and the bond her family, loved ones and friends share.
Visitors will be received from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, August 9, 2017, at Elliott Mortuary and Crematory, 1219 N. Main. Memorial Service will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, August 10, 2017, at the Seventh-Day Adventist Church at 1302 N. Severance, Pastor Trey Sharp and Elder Clark Jacobs officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Helen's name to Hospice House in Hutchinson or Seventh-Day Adventist Church, in care of Elliott Mortuary, 1219 N. Main, Hutchinson, KS 67501. Messages of condolence may also be left at Elliott Mortuary.