"Concerned with the General Welfare of the Deaf of Iowa"

Updated July 4, 2017


Dr. Bill Darnell

May 27, 1934 -- November 19, 2016

William “Bill” Tone Thiessen Darnell, 82, of Odenton, MD, passed away on November 19, 2016 after an extended illness.

Bill was the beloved husband of 45 years to the late MaryAnn (Forestal) Darnell; devoted father of Heather (Joseph) Sanders; cherished grandfather of Kelsie and Carley.

Born on May 27, 1934 in Des Moines, IA to the late Walter Heinrich Raymond and Loretta Marjorie (Tone) Thiessen, Bill was part of the Tone Brothers, Inc. family, the country's oldest spice company. At the age of 13, Bill permanently lost his hearing as a result of Spinal Meningitis. (He attended Iowa School for the Deaf and graduated in 1951.)  Two short years later, at the young age of 15, he headed off to study at Gallaudet University, graduating in 1956 with a B.A. degree in English. Bill continued his education by pursuing a Master of Psychology degree from Catholic University via a full scholarship awarded by the University's Dean upon Bill beating him in a tennis match. He later went on to graduate from the University of Maryland with his PhD in Psychology.

For the better part of his career, Bill worked for Gallaudet University at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf as a psychologist. He retired from Gallaudet in 1995 after more than 22 years of service, but continued to serve the deaf community as an independent consulting psychologist. Bill enjoyed traveling, a good game of chess, and spending time with his two granddaughters. He touched many lives and will be greatly missed.

A Requiem Mass was held at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, 1800 Seton Drive, Crofton, MD on Monday, December 5, 2016 at 11 a.m. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Gallaudet Fund, Gallaudet University, Office of Development, EMG Building, 800 Florida Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002.

Thanks to Donaldson Funeral Home, Odenton, MD and Dr. Ronald Sutcliffe for the information.