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Thomas B. Darlington, age 84, died suddenly on Friday, August 22, 2008. His last days were characteristically full, as he enjoyed the company of his bride of ten months, Virginia Jones Darlington, whale-watching off Cape Cod and meeting two new great-grand sons.

Born in Lansdowne, PA on July 31, 1924 to Lewis Williams Darlington and Beulah Sansome White Darlington, Tom could be considered a renaissance man, with degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Swarthmore College and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. He designed, built and flew ultralight aircraft, had a passion for antique farm engines, and narrowly missed being killed by a drunk driver while bicycling at age 61. A birthright Quaker (Society of Friends), he chose to serve as a naval officer during World War II, teaching Physics to officer candidates at Princeton University.

Raised in both the Philadelphia suburbs and the Pine Barrens of New Jersey by a family with deep agricultural roots, Tom bossed a crew of blueberry pickers while still in high school, later being tapped to design jet turbine engines for Westinghouse. After the death of his brother, he took over J.J. White, Inc., a cranberry enterprise begun by his grandfather; and furthered by his aunt, Elizabeth White, known for first cultivating the blueberry (with assistance of Frederick Coville of the USDA). Tom modernized the historic company, re- engineering the rustic bogs, and designing cranberry and blueberry picking machines that bear his name.

He served on the Boards of Directors of Burlington County Trust Bank, Memorial Hospital of Burlington County, Moorestown Friends School, Tru-Blu-Blueberries Cooperative Association, New Jersey Audubon Society, Whitesbog Preservation Trust, and Farm Bureau of Burlington County. Tom was influential during his twenty-plus years as Director of Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., spanning the cooperative’s transition from primarily fruit and sauce to a major juice brand. Considered an environmentalist with a practical outlook, Tom served on the New Jersey Pinelands Commission for twenty years, steering a narrow course between those who would over-develop the Pines and those who would over-regulate its protection. A true lover of all things natural, he could identify myriad song bird species by their call, and reveled in walks through the woods, even into his 80's.

Beloved by his family, Tom was married to Martha Burton Darlington for fifty-six years, and will be sorely missed by his children, Joseph W. Darlington, Mark B. Darlington, Katharine Darlington, and Anne F. Darlington, as well as his six grandchildren, Emily Lovely, David Darlington, Elizabeth Thompson, Tessa Palmer, Laura Darlington, and Ruth Thompson.

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    reprinted by permission of the Burlington County Times -

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