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William James Darnell Jr.

July 15, 1968 November 4, 2020
William James Darnell Jr.
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Obituary for William James Darnell Jr.

William James Darnell Jr., 52, of Lansing, died of COVID-19 on November 4, 2020.

Bill was born to William and Linda Cross Darnell on July 15, 1968, in Battle Creek. To the wonderful extended Cross family, he was known as “Jitty Bitty,” whether he liked it or not. His seven aunts and uncles were like mothers and fathers to him, and his many cousins were like brothers and sisters. He graduated from Everett High School in 1986.

Bill and Ella (née Griffith) married on December 11, 1998. Their daughter Dominique was born in 2000 and their twin sons Craig and Duncan in 2003. Bill could not have been prouder of their grit and accomplishments. He cheered on Craig and Duncan’s academic success as juniors at Grand Ledge High School and was proud of Dominique’s graduation from Grand Ledge in 2020.

Family meant everything to Bill. He coached his children’s soccer, flag football, and football teams and served as a coach and board member for Grand Ledge Area Youth Football. He loved to plan family vacations and was always at the center of whatever fun was going on.

After working as an officer for the Capital Region Airport, Maple Rapids, and the City of DeWitt, Bill became a full-time officer for DeWitt Township. He had served for fifteen years at the time of his death. He took pride in serving the community with outreach programs like “Shop with a Cop.”

In 2009, Bill was named a National Association of Police Organizations Top Cop and traveled to the White House with his family to receive the award. The day that he met President Barack Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden, and Attorney General Eric Holder was one of the high points of his life.

Bill is survived by his wife Ellie and children Dominique, Craig and Duncan, sister Amy Henderson (Scott), nieces Teryn and Kaylee Henderson, mother-in-law Alma Cameron, sister-in-law Eva York (Ray), Uncles Charles Cross (Marcia) and David Cross (Beverly), Aunt Vonnie Cross and many special and amazing cousins. He was preceded in death by his grandparents Joseph and Dorotha (Doane) Cross, mother Linda, Uncles Joseph Cross (Bertha) and Thomas Cross and aunts Gertrude Owens, Patricia Smith (Robert) and Carol Vazquez.

Arrangements for a celebration of Bill’s life will be announced at a later date.

The best way to honor Bill now is to wear your mask, recognize that anyone can catch and transmit this lethal disease, and do everything in your power to protect yourself, your loved ones, and our community from COVID-19.

The family is being served by the Peters & Murray Funeral Home, Grand Ledge. Online condolences may be shared at

To plant a tree in memory of William James Darnell Jr., visit the Tribute Store.


Event Information

Out of respect and concern for public health and safety, the family has chosen to postpone funeral services. A service of remembrance will be held at a later date.

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