Kathleen Mabel Darrow

22 January , 195031 January , 2019

With each flower, as it grows into its fullness of beauty, is the knowledge that one day It will return to the earth.

Kathleen Mabel Darrow (nee Johnston) was born in Parry Sound Ontario to Patrick and Eva Johnston on January 22, 1950. The third of three girls she grew up in nature enjoying all the wonder of Georgian Bay on Lake Huron. The family cottage on the bay, surrounded by her many cousins, was one of her favorite places as she grew up.

Kathleen earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) at the age of 24 from the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph. As one of the few women and one of the youngest women to graduate from that institution at the time, she helped blaze the trail for other women entering the profession. Her love of Pathology led her to complete a Doctorate of Veterinary Science (DVSc) where her research into joint disease led to her work being included in Veterinary Pathology textbooks. During her professional life, after a period in Prince Albert Saskatchewan, she worked for the Government of Canada in a pathology lab in Ottawa, where she could further her passion in classical music and classical art.

Her profession led to a position as a veterinary pathologist in Melbourne, Australia where she met her future husband Marty Darrow. Married in 1995, They lived in a temperate rainforest slightly north of Melbourne. Wild parakeets, cockatoos, and kukaburras frequented their house and flowers were present all year long in their garden. Kathleen developed her passions for water color painting, ballroom dancing, sewing, knitting, embroidery and classical music while carrying out a full pathology schedule.

In 1998 she returned to her beloved Canada with her husband to undertake a position in a veterinary pathology laboratory in Langley BC.

Within a few years of returning to BC, Kathleen’s health prohibited her from continuing in her profession, so she retired and devoted herself to her other passions one of which was her garden in Abbotsford BC. She would study the seed catalogues in January to create her Tangled garden trying to mimic the gardens of Monet in Giverney, France. She would then spend her summer days sketching and producing vivid water colors of these flowers.

Kathleen always had a pet at her side, a dog or a cat and spent innumerable hours walking all trails around Abbotsford and other local regions embracing nature, welcoming each season with great joy. Kathleen’s favorite season was fall so she could walk through the multi-colored leaves – her word for this was scruffle! She loved the squeak of her footsteps in fresh snow.

Kathleen was a member of Gateway Christian Reformed Church in Abbotsford. Her outreach included at times making 10 to 20 meat and cheese sandwiches for the homeless and delivering these to the camps. Kathleen succumbed to her health issues on January 31, 2019. She struggled with an eating disorder throughout her life. The staff at St Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver BC helped Kathleen to control the mental illness of anorexia for several years. Now she is at peace.

She leaves behind her beloved dogs - Papillon Bumpy, Standard Poodle Frankie, her husband Martin Darrow of Abbotsford, her sister Patricia Madigan (Glenn) of Parry Sound Ontario and their son Luke of Startford Ontario, her nephew Forrest Klotzbach and niece Melani McBratney (nee Klotzbach) both of Kelowna, BC. She is predeceased by her sister Mary Ann Klotzbach and nephew Adam Madigan. Among the many cousins she leaves behind, of special mention was her lifelong friend and matron of Honour Louise Armitage (Neil) of Parry Sound, Ontario.

The Celebration of the life of Kathleen Darrow will be held at Henderson’s Fraser Valley Funeral Home, 34537 Marshall Road, Abbotsford BC on Friday February15 at 2 PM followed by a reception at 3174 Gladwin Road, Abbotsford. Maps will be provided at the service. This service will be live streamed and recorded for those out of town guests who cannot make it to Abbotsford. See:

Kathleen asked that donations go to two of her charities: SPCA to support animals in need And WorldVison to feed the hungry Children


  • Memorial Service Friday, 15 February , 2019

Kathleen Mabel Darrow

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