Darrell Marcus Hampton, age 82, died of cancer at his home on Saturday, July 19, 2014.
Darrell was born in Fort Lookout, South Dakota, on Feb. 26, 1932. His family moved from Missouri Valley, South Dakota, to the Black Hills when he was 7 years old and after drought and grasshoppers wiped out his father’s farm.
They settled in Custer, South Dakota, where they lived in a log house with no indoor water or plumbing that had been a former stagecoach stop. Following his father’s lead, Darrell worked in the area’s mica, quartz, and feldspar mines during and after high school.
After graduating from high school in 1950, Darrell “rode the rails” for a few months, hopping trains to see and learn about South Dakota and surrounding states before joining the Air Force in 1951. After boot camp in Texas, Darrell married his high school sweetheart, Lynn Barrett, on July 14, 1951, in Peoria, Kansas.
He was stationed in Anchorage, Alaska, for a year during the Korean War, and then reunited with his wife and new daughter, Deborah, in 1952 in Valdosta, Georgia, where he attained the rank of staff sergeant.
After his discharge from the Air Force in 1955, Darrell and his family moved back to South Dakota, where his daughter Viki was born. He completed a bachelors of science electrical engineering degree from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in Rapid City in 1960. He was hired by AT&T Corporation (Western Electric) and lived in Concord, Massachusetts, for three months while completing graduate training. From there he moved to Duluth, Minnesota, where his son Scott was born in 1961.
While in Minnesota, Darrell worked on the SAGE project radar tracking and warning system for aircraft. He was out-stationed in Canada during the Cuban missile crisis, and then transferred to Vandenberg Air Force Base in 1963, where he worked on a launch vehicle radio guidance system.
Still with AT&T, he helped to put more than 400 satellites in orbit. His family lived at that time in Lompoc, California, and then moved to Santa Maria, California, in 1967, where Darrell retired from AT&T in 1989.
Before he retired, Darrell turned his love of woodworking into a second job, opening Hampton Shop and building custom-made furniture and cabinets, which he continued to do upon retirement. His most ambitious project was building the sanctuary furniture (altar, pulpit, lectern, baptismal font, and sound system cabinetry) for the Lutheran Church of Our Savior, where he has been a member since 1967.
Darrell is survived by his daughters, Deborah Lynn Conn and Viki Irene Forest, and his son, Scott Lloyd Hampton, all of Santa Maria, California; his two sisters, Karen Kathleen Orton of Mesa, Arizona, and Barbara Jean Briggs of Waterloo, Iowa; six grandchildren and four great-grandsons.
Darrell was preceded in death by his wife, Lynn (Maymee) Hampton; his parents, Lloyd Marcus Hampton and Evelyn (Edith) Hampton; his brother, Rodney Alan Hampton; and his granddaughter, Erika Nicole Forest.
A memorial service for Darrell will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, at Lutheran Church of Our Savior, followed by a reception at the church.
Memorial contributions are welcome and can be made to the Lutheran Church of Our Savior, 4728 S. Bradley Rd, Santa Maria, California 93455.
To leave a condolence for the family visit www.dudleyhoffmanmortuary.com.