Stephen Darrah of Powhatan, Virginia, August 10

By on August 23, 2019

Stephen C. Darrah, 76, of Powhatan, Virginia, passed away on Saturday, August 10, 2019, with his family by his side, after a brief but brave battle against pancreatic cancer.

Steve was born on February 25, 1943. He was the youngest of two sons of Mrs. and Dr. Harry E. Darrah of Providence, Rhode Island. He attended Moses Brown School and Providence Country Day (PCD) School, graduating from PCD in 1961.

While at PCD, Steve was a Rhode Island All Prep First Team Basketball selection for two years, captain of the tennis team for two years and Rhode Island Singles and Doubles Champion, a Rhode Island All Prep Second Team Football selection and received a total of eight varsity letters.

Upon graduation from PCD, Steve accepted an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. During his four years at West Point, he played on the varsity squash and tennis teams for three years. At the end of his junior years, Steve was ranked ninth nationally by the Intercollegiate Squash Racquets Association.

Upon graduating from West Point in June 1965, Steve was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant Infantry Officer in the Army. He married Phyllis Blair of Barrington, Rhode Island in July 1965. Following completion of Airborne and Ranger Schools, Steve was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky as a Platoon Leader with 1/502 Infantry.

In 1967, he completed Rotary Wing Flight School and was assigned to D Co., 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cav Div., as a helicopter gunship platoon leader in Vietnam. During this time, Steve and Phyllis’ oldest son, Clark, was born.

After a year, he returned to the United States as one of the more highly decorated Army Aviators at the time with a Silver Star, five Distinguished Flying Crosses, a Bronze Star, three Air Medals with a “V” for Valor, 43 Air Medals and an Army Commendation Medal with a “V” for Valor.

Following tours at Ft. Rucker, Alabama and Ft. Benning, Georgia and the birth of his son Gregory, Steve returned to Vietnam from August 1971 to March 1972 as the Executive Officer with 2/17 Cav, 101 Airborne Division. He then returned to Ft. Benning, completing an MBA degree from Georgia State University prior to resigning from the Army on December 31, 1974.

On January 2, 1975, Steve accepted a position with Philip Morris USA in Hopewell, Virginia as a Shift Superintendent in a tobacco processing plant. Over the next 20 years, he served in a variety of Operations positions with Philip Morris USA and Philip Morris International, culminating with his appointment in 1990 as Senior Vice President of Manufacturing for Philip Morris USA.

In 1995, Steve was recruited by Rothmans International as the Director of Global Operations in London, England. In 2000, following the acquisition of Rothmans by British American Tobacco, he returned to the United States and retired. Steve and Wanda Walton of Richmond, Virginia were married in 2000 and resided in Powhatan, Virginia.

During his retirement, Steve was active with collecting, racing and showing modern day sports cars, spending time with family and friends at his beach house in Corolla, North Carolina, playing golf, working out hard at the Midlothian YMCA and serving as a volunteer member of the Greater Metro and Midlothian YMCA Board of Directors. He was a member of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association, the Vietnam Crew Members Association, the Distinguished Flying Cross society, the Foundry Golf Club and Virginia International Raceway.

He is survived by his wife, Wanda; two sons, Clark and Gregory; and five grandchildren. There will be a memorial service and celebration of Steve’s life at 11 a.m. Tuesday, September 3, 2019, at Salisbury Presbyterian Church, 13621 West Salisbury Road, Midlothian, Virginia 23113, followed by a reception at Salisbury Country Club, 13620 West Salisbury Road, Midlothian, Virginia 23113. Steve will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the YMCA of Greater Richmond, American Huey 369 or a charity of your choice.

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