Cover photo for Lenora Darbonne's Obituary
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1935 Lenora 2023

Lenora Darbonne

March 4, 1935 — December 18, 2023

Lenora Frances Fontenot Darbonne, age 88, passed away peacefully on Monday, December 18, 2023, from the long-term effects of dementia.  She was a force of nature who believed and proved that she could do anything she set her mind to, whether it was raising five children far from home, sewing impeccable prom dresses for her girls and scrubs for her son, or taking up tennis in her 60s.  She never met a recipe that didn't need tweaking, a baby she couldn't shush, or a plant she couldn't propagate.

Lenora was born on March 4, 1935, and grew up in Lawtell, Louisiana.  She attended Lawtell High School where she played basketball for 4+ years, sang on Fisette's weekly radio show, and spent two years as a Yamette Yambassador for Opelousas, graduating in 1953.  She became a registered nurse upon graduation from Our Lady of the Lake Nursing School in Baton Rouge in 1956.  Shortly thereafter, on July 8, 1956, Lenora married Eugene Richard Darbonne, then a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army.  Together with their growing family they enjoyed being stationed in Germany, Fort Benning, Baton Rouge, France, and Virginia, with a final tour to Fort Benning, Georgia, before returning to Opelousas upon Gene's retirement in 1973. She persevered with her young family through Gene's two year-long tours to Korea and Vietnam.

In Opelousas Lenora re-entered the nursing field, working primarily at Opelousas General Hospital in various administrative roles. While there, she developed and implemented the hospital's first site-wide infection control plan.  In her free time, she enjoyed many crafts, tennis, her music group, supper club, bridge and travel.  She was a godsend to her children as her many grandchildren were born, traveling to Japan, Chicago, Germany, Virginia, Nebraska, North Carolina, Florida and Texas to help them get a good start in life.  She gave each new grandchild two weeks of special care. She was a faithful member of Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church until she moved to Lafayette in 2019 to be closer to her local children. 

She is preceded in death by her dear husband Gene (Lieutenant Colonel Eugene Richard Darbonne, U.S. Army Retired). 

She is survived by their five children and their spouses - LtCol Lisa Rackley, USAF Retired, and husband, LtCol Greg Rackley, USAF Retired; Dr. Stephen Darbonne and wife, Alexis; Alison Brumley and husband, Ron; Laurie Mallory and husband, LtCol Dean Mallory, USAF Retired; Jeanne Foster and husband, Ray - twenty-four grandchildren, seventeen great-grandchildren, sisters Corinne Pitre and Lorraine (Gary) Landry, sisters-in-law Gwen Fontenot and Jane Fontenot, and numerous beloved nephews, nieces, extended family and friends.

In addition to her husband, Lenora was preceded in death by her parents Joseph Arthur Fontenot and Aline Cary Fontenot, stepmother Laura Fontenot, sister Anita Fae and brothers Cary and J.A. Fontenot, and sister- and brothers-in-law Willie Mae and James C. Cole, Willie Pitre, Paul Creighton, Herman and Clement Noah Darbonne,
and Maurice and Hilliard Carriere.

The family wishes to express their sincere gratitude to the loving caregivers who filled Lenora's final days with joy and peace - Linda Arceneaux, Donna Willis, Ashley Berard, Mary Stevenson, Leslie Babineaux, Saria Williams, Yolanda Winzer and Joyce Benoit. 

They also wish to express their appreciation for the wonderful support provided by the team at Hospice of
Acadiana, particularly Joy and Shay.

Visitation is planned for Thursday, January 4, 2024, at LaFond-Ardoin Funeral Home from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., with a rosary at 6:00 p.m. Visitation will also be held on Friday, January 5, 2024, at Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Opelousas from 9:00 a.m. until time of service. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, January 5, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. at Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church. Father Clint Trahan will celebrate the Mass, with the Rite of Committal at Bellevue Memorial Park Cemetery immediately following.

For those who wish to make a donation in lieu of flowers, please consider giving to Hospice
of Acadiana at https://hospiceacadiana.com.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Lenora Darbonne, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, January 4, 2024

4:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

LaFond-Ardoin Funeral Home

2845 S Union St, Opelousas, LA 70570

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Rosary

Thursday, January 4, 2024

6:00 - 6:30 pm (Central time)

LaFond-Ardoin Funeral Home

2845 S Union St, Opelousas, LA 70570

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Visitation

Friday, January 5, 2024

9:00 - 10:00 am (Central time)

Our Lady Queen of Angels Cath.Church

2125 S Union St, Opelousas, LA 70570

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Mass

Friday, January 5, 2024

10:00 - 10:45 am (Central time)

Our Lady Queen of Angels Cath.Church

2125 S Union St, Opelousas, LA 70570

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Burial

Friday, January 5, 2024

11:00 - 11:30 am (Central time)

Bellevue Memorial Cemetery

LA

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