Cecil E. Darnell

January 22, 1936October 27, 2018

Cecil E. Darnell January 22, 1936 – October 27, 2018

Cecil/Bud passed peacefully with family at bedside after a brief illness.

He is preceded in death by his parents Cecil M. Darnell and Lillian Hart Darnell. He is survived by his wife, Judy Darnell (Smith) and daughters, Nanette Darnell, Suzette Darnell Holloway and grandson, Tariq Zidan. Cecil has 3 surviving siblings brother, Don Darnell (wife Mary Kay); sisters, Audrey Ritt and Carol Ruppert (husband Donald) and numerous nieces and nephews.

Barryton, Michigan is where Cecil grew up, graduated high school, and returned to frequently because it was always home. He furthered his education by attending first Central Michigan and then completed his degree at Olivet College where he was president of Phi Alpha Pi Fraternity. Cecil and Judy met at Olivet College and married on January 27, 1961.

He was first a teacher at Duck Lake School and then at Milford Junior High. After teaching for 5 yrs, he changed careers a couple of times. He became The Sault St. Marie Chamber of Commerce Director and established the I-500 snowmobile race in The Soo. In 1974, he moved his family back to the Lower Peninsula, where he became Mason Area Chamber of Commerce Director , and inaugurated the Arabian Horse Show at the Ingham Co. Fairgrounds. After leaving The Chamber, Cecil was employed by The Society of Manufacturing Engineers in Dearborn, Michigan where he was an Expositions Manager, putting on machine tool shows all over the world, until he retired. Cecil then came out of retirement to work as a consultant for Engineering Society of Detroit for a short time. What Cecil/Bud is most known for by most (in his own words) is being an author, speaker, writer, storyteller, photographer. He has written articles and had cover photos for publications such as Rural Heritage, Saddle UP, Draft Horse Journal, Age Wise, Michigan Farmer, Above the Bridge, Western Mule Magazine, Country Lines, Old Farm, The Percheron News and even Onion World!

Cecil E Darnell has been a presence in the horse industry, along with barns and the country culture for many years. He was involved with many shows and associations such as Great Lakes International, The Michigan Horse Expo, Boat Pullers Association, etc. He was also the recipient of The Michigan Horse Council’s Inaugural Press Award and The Catalyst Award, and was also admitted to the Michigan Draft Horse Pulling Hall of Fame.

A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, November 3rd at 11 AM, with visitation 1 hr prior. Followed by a luncheon and then procession to cemetery for a prayer and inurnment.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in memory of Cecil E. Darnell to All Saints Lutheran Church 720 W South St. Mason, 48854 or Ingham County Animal Shelter 600 Curtis St. Mason, 48854 and that you continue to tell stories.


  • Ingham County Animal Shelter
  • All Saints Lutheran Church


  • Visitation Saturday, November 3, 2018
  • Memorial Service Saturday, November 3, 2018

Cecil E. Darnell

have a memory or condolence to add?

Bette Jo Jones

January 1, 2019

Cecil was the gentleman who hired me to work as his secretary at SME. He was a delight to work for and a great person. I will always remember him as a great boss. He spoke of his family with love often. So sorry for your loss.

Carolyn Chisnell

November 2, 2018

Judy, I was so sorry to hear of the loss of your husband. My thoughts, love and sympathy go out to you and your family.

Donald Vincent

November 2, 2018

There is comfort in the memories Cecil left with everyone he touched. He was a "one-of-a-kind" man who enjoyed life and sharing his many talents. His humor was special too. I worked with Cecil at SME and will cherish the time I had with him. My sincere condolences to Judy and the Darnell family as we celebrate the life of a good man.

Sherry Long

October 31, 2018

I had a lot of cousins growing up and spent many hours with them. Since my mom was the youngest of the Hart children, Bud was already an adult when I came to know him as a photographer. I had lost all of my front teeth and he wanted to take a picture of my toothless grin. I would have done it for free, but he offered me a quarter so I gladly took it!
I’ve enjoyed reading his books and looking at his photos. I know he will be missed by a lot of people.

Patrick Ritt

October 30, 2018

He was an inspiring uncle. He was a great photographer and I appreciate his support as I learned. I am impressed by his many talents; writing, his wood projects, singing and many more. He will be missed.

Marilyn Wootton

October 30, 2018

Cecil always made me laugh with his rye humor. He appeared one day and took our youngest daughter, Victoria, and her friend, Patrick, to Greenfield Village where he took photos of the kids on the carousel. He gave the children a memory I hope they always keep. I enjoyed reading his stories about life on the farm with his parents. His photos of horses and barns gave such life to the American farmer. When he and George would get together, there was always laughter. He will be missed but his memory will live on. Judy, Nan and Suz, you are in our prayers for comfort.

Tracey Van Deusen

October 30, 2018

Suzette, I am so sorry for the loss of your father. I am praying for you during this difficult time. May the memories help you withstand the grief.

Ken and Kay Woodring

October 30, 2018

We send our deep sympathy along with so many thoughts filled with special memories of Cecil and the family he loved.

Douglas Dancer

October 30, 2018

So sorry to hear of Cecil's passing. He was a wonderful man and did many wonderful things for me and Dancer's. Judy my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Linda Peterson

October 29, 2018

We have know Cecil and his family since 1975. Lots of wonderful memories! I have a lot of the wonderful pictures that Cecil has taken over the years. Also, have quite a few of his books he has written. A very talented man who will be missed by many. My love to Judy, Nan and Suz.