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Posted on September 28, 2016 | 3:45 p.m.

Andrew David Darke of Goleta, 1965-2016

Source: Darke Family

Andrew Darke, with daughter Bella. (Darke family photo)
Andrew Darke, with daughter Bella. (Darke family photo)

Andrew David Darke of Goleta, California, was born on August 18, 1965, and he died September 26, 2016. He was 51 years old.

There never is a good time to lose someone who is so loved. Unfortunately the loss came much too soon and sudden for us.

Andrew Darke was known for an infectious smile and a gift for seeing the positive in every person and every situation. (Darke family photo)
Andrew Darke was known for an infectious smile and a gift for seeing the positive in every person and every situation. (Darke family photo)

Andrew, with his infectious smile, had a brilliant gift for seeing the positive in every person and every situation. People were drawn to his honest and open nature from the moment they met him. His humor, intellect and kindness were just icing on the cake after getting to know him even more.

Andrew told his wife on their first date, at the end of a long meal, that he “didn’t want to freak her out, but one day, he was going to marry her.” Only 7½ months later, true to form, he did marry her. They would have been married 20 years, this November.

Andrew’s three children — Isabella, Drew and Gino — were the lights of his life. As a father, he gave every ounce of support to them, and was extremely involved with each.

He had an incredible ability to balance his work and personal life so that he could attend just about every one of his children’s events, be it a baseball game, piano recital, parent conference, etc. He spent years coaching and managing his sons’ baseball teams, and made sure they knew it wasn’t just about winning. He cared so deeply for his children but for others’ children, too.

Andrew was a retired commander in the U.S. Navy and received the Navy Commendation Medal for his heroism during the Persian Gulf War.

“Lieutenant Darke’s exceptional leadership and courage were inspirational to all who observed him, reflected great credit upon himself, and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service,” wrote a vice admiral in the Navy.

Andrew was the most compassionate husband, loving father, loyal teammate, closest confidante, happiest friend and biggest fan for his wife and children. He is survived by his wife, Debbie; daughter Isabella; sons Drew and Gino; and his dog, Jeter.

He is also survived by his father, Jim Darke, sisters Linda Lawler (Jim) and Paula Hoiland (Ken), brother John, and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his mother, Barbara, and grandmother, Fern.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 3 p.m. October 15, 2016, at the Goleta Valley South Little League field, 4540 Hollister Avenue in Santa Barbara. Please bring blankets and chairs.

Andrew Darke with sons Drew, left, and Gino. (Darke family photos)
Andrew Darke with sons Drew, left, and Gino. (Darke family photos)

 

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