Dustin Michael Darby, 25, passed away unexpectedly on June 22, 2022 at UPMC Western Maryland. He was also known as “Dusty Bug” til the age of 5, “Bubbie” by parents, Double D “DD” and forever known as “Lil Man”.
Born on May 22, 1997, in Cumberland. He was the chosen son for Cindy D. (Kelley) Darby and the late Michael A. Darby.
He was a joyous gift from God to his parents on March 16, 2000. His dream to become a Darby came true on April 10, 2003. This day was celebrated each year thereafter on his “Gotcha Day”. He was their absolute joy.
In addition to his father, he is preceded in death by his grandparents, Ora Joe “Pappy Joe” and Nora “Grandma Kitty” Darby, Pappy Weir Roth, Diana Jackson; his favorite great great aunt, Mary Kasecamp and aunt Margaret Blank; god father, Allen Shirk; his card playing buddies, Ron, Jim, Ed, George and Junior, and his beloved dog Sparky.
Dustin was born with the most severe form, stage IV of Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), a.k.a. brittle bone disease. At age 2 ½ , once in the Darby household, within months he could sit up and hold his head up himself ; thus began his new “Handi CAPABLE” life with those who would ultimately become his Forever Family! In spite of his diagnosis and fragility, it never stopped him from dreaming, believing, achieving, and celebrating many, many awesome milestones in his brief 25 years. But hey, that was 20 more years than the typical lifespan for his condition at time of his birth. Dustin achieved all these things because he was so unconditionally loved, supported, and provided with boundless opportunities by his parents. Dustin started to try to learn to walk with braces; only to find out his breathing was being compromised by severe scoliosis. As it turned out this began not only his journey of surgeries, but also his journey of FAITH. He was adopted on a Thurs, baptized with his Darby name on Palm Sunday, and went to Shriners that same afternoon…and had his first titanium rib implant on Tuesday. God granted him “New Life” that Easter week because he said immediately that night he could breathe easier. Within 7 years, he would have almost 20 surgeries including his 16 hour full spinal fusion, bilateral femoral rods, and brain surgery to evacuate 3 subdural hematomas and 2 epidural hematomas and attempt to fix his crackled skull. While in middle school he had a medically unexplainable loss of feeling in his left arm that baffled medical experts because he could not feel his arm but had complete use of it! He had 10 years of no surgeries, until needing plates, screws and a rod in this same arm due to a car accident… when he woke up he realized immediately he had regained the feeling in his arm. That numbness had lasted 7 years total. The surgeon even said I have no medical explanation but I am happy for you. In his brief 25 years of life he had a total of 158 fractures including mostly femurs, arms, shoulders, collar bone, ankle, his skull, bridge of nose, his jaw, finger, and final fracture was his hip. He endured ace wraps, full body casts different times for up to 3 months each time, splints, orthotic braces for legs, arms, upper body…whatever it took. In spite of all these hardships, he played drums in elementary and middle school band, a 2015 graduate of Mt. Ridge High School where he was a 4 year member of Bocce ball team and captain in 2014 and a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes; also a graduate of local Career Center (CCTE) in law enforcement and completed his internship at our 911 center; member of FSU Police Explorers and served as their president; received County citation for a local drug bust; received award for exceeding the community service hours for graduation; completed specialized driver’s training and got his driver’s license (even though he could never afford the joystick computer equipped van), was only a few classes shy of a two year college degree; active 7 year volunteer member of Shaft Fire Department working numerous bingo and cash/gun bashes while participating in drills and meetings (Shaft bestowed honorary membership); and he worked 3 to 5 days a week at Aspira as a contractor for federal retirement investments. Other volunteer activities involved sewing IV pillows and collecting new toys for Shriners Hospital and collecting pop tabs for Shriners and Ronald McDonald Houses both in Philadelphia and Morgantown all the years he had surgery. He made walking sticks and candles for others too. Darby’s Woodworking and DD’s candles. He had tomato plants and others got to eat them because by the time they were ready he was usually at Shriners having surgery. And his proudest was growing Apple trees starting from the seed. The mold in our fridge was just bowls of apple seeds starting the process.
He was a member of Big Savage and Piney Mt Sportsmen’s Clubs; received award for biggest buck in 2007; was a member of NRA and certified NRA Range Safety Officer. Also several FEMA certifications. He had his one and only specially modified gun by Rich W. for hunting. He got to experience several special hunting excursions to Michigan for deer with Tony Semple Foundation for Hope (his 10 point); to Colorado for buffalo with Joseph’s Journey and SCI Four Corners Chapter (his 1600 lb 3 year old bull); to Maine for turkey and second trip for Bear. Of course, he avidly hunted deer and squirrel on Darby Ridge. And known to have pizza delivered right to his hunting shed!! Lol, Dustin got nicknamed one shot Darby for all his game until his Buffalo that took 3 shots to drop. He loved going to his family’s camp and knew everyone in the entire camp just by rolling around everywhere and being the social bug he was. He’d sing karaoke there, fish, had one infamous boat ride with Uncle Bill; Lil’ fire bug would build Fires at noon for evening hot dogs and midnight gatherings of camp buddies…everyone else was to keep the flame burning while he was going all over camp all day long; he enjoyed his wheelchair accessible four wheeler beyond words once he got it from John. And oh the late night video game marathons with Brad, Lil Bill and RJ!! Always the life of any gathering!
Dustin had a love for living life and endured all the challenges, roadblocks, and setbacks with true grit. In Jan 2021, he went to hospital for a possible broken rib and the unimaginable happened and he was intubated and placed on a ventilator being paralyzed and sedated to recover. . A week later he was flown to Johns Hopkins and spent 8 months that year in hospital with his mom with him 24/7. Even though never acceptant of trach that robbed him of his independent abilities and all the things he loved to do and placed him in bed nearly all of the 16 months, he tolerated it with an amazing stoic attitude until he left us on June 22. He was truly inspirational in life even though he was a firecracker…no actually a stick of dynamite… and had a zest for exploration, curiosity, confidence, and an unyielding determination with his decisions. And everyone present as he left this life knows he was inspirational then too as he made every decision til his last breath. He certainly had fun, fun, fun living life and “belly laughed” until you would laugh too. He loved pranking people. He was an extraordinary fearfully and wonderfully made Christian Lil’ man gifted to us from an incredibly awesome God. He had strong, unwavering FAITH, he was brought back a handful of times from near death experiences in hospitals over the years. He was taught he had a voice and he used it to self-direct his wants, needs, and decisions his entire life even during his final hours until he got called by GOD and answered the call to be with Jesus in his heavenly home until we meet again. Dustin was unique or as his mom would tell him UNI Q, blessed beyond imagination, a trailblazer through life who left in a true blaze of glory, and totally irreplaceable in our lives! He was by no means PERFECT and not enough paper to cover all his orneriness and antics but he’d be the first person to tell you if he himself needed some Jesus as he would say or tell you if you did!! He’d usually say are you getting what I’m putting down!!
Dustin I was so PROUD and HONORED to be chosen as your mom. It was my true destiny in life…simply to be your mom. You inspired us all to be true to one self, courageous, resilient, humble, caring & kind to one another, steadfast & unwavering in our FAITH, to stand up for your beliefs, and also admit, own and be accountable when wrong. You definitely taught perseverance by always saying this is just another bump in the road, another hurdle to get over, and it will be okay. And I see now how that horrific bump in the road for you on Jan 17, 2021 and them taking my job of 20 years on Feb 4 and then your trach and lifetime vent on Feb 11 forever changed everything. But I was meant to have the 1 ½ years of being with you 24/7 no matter in an ambulance, at hospital or home
But I wouldn’t change it…it was a blessing to serve and take care of you MY ABSOLUTE JOY
And I’d do every hard day again if you needed me! YOUR ENTIRE GOD CHOSEN FAMILY, ALL YOUR FRIENDS, AND MANY IN YOUR COMMUNITY ARE JOINING TOGETHER IN A HUGE CIRCLE OF LOVE AND JOY; TOGETHER WE ARE UNBREAKABLE….WE WILL RISE UP BECAUSE OF YOUR INSPIRATION AND HONOR YOUR LEGACY. They usually say a life well lived…you lived well and an impact but in exchange you received a life well-loved which is the best gift. You my son were the real deal and I will never forget you MY ABSOLUTE JOY; I will never forget your last spoken words here on earth…I love you Mom. I will love you forever too. Tell Big Daddy I said hello and send my love; when we lost your dad my heart was broken and now losing you, my heart is crushed. My sadness may ease over time but never cease…You were small in body but bold, fearless, fierce, and fun with a HUGE GIANT HEART. I love you forever, your mom, Mama Bear.
Surviving are his mom, Mama Bear Cindy Darby; special pet rabbits, Gunner and Reese; grandma/granny, Marilyn Roth; special OI brother, Jose and sister Mayelie and parents, Mayra and Jose Ayala; god brother, William A. Jackson and fiancée Maddy; god brother/BFF, Bradley A. Jackson; godparents, William P. Jackson and Binky; godmothers, Pam Shirk and Ashton Colmer; special prayer warrior Pastor Michael Wright; uncles, aunts and cousins, William G. Kelley (aka Dr. Bill) and Tracy, Mekenna, William and their mom, Becky Capel, Peggy and Charles (Ed) Roth, Ross and Andrew and his son, Donovan, Russell and Alison and her daughter Addison, Charlotte Roth, Donald and Justine Calcamp, Kevin, Christopher and wife Alyssa; special buddy’s, Wayne and Andi Miller and Alexis; special “aunt”, Jacquelyn and John Richards, son John and Danielle their daughter Hayden, Miranda and Butch Pheasant, Zach and Braelyn, Larry Darby and wife Debbie; special “pap” William R. Jackson, special “grandma”, Virginann Smith; service coordinator, Sue Nealis Williams; his special 1 to 1 from 4th grade til he graduated, Jeannie Flanagan; Mrs. Reuse, his school principal for helping with his adoption; special physicians, Dr. Bilal Itani (doctor from birth til age 24 and they share the same birthday), Dr. Jain, Dr. Janjua, Dr. D’Andrea, Dr. Asghar, Dr. Campbell, Dr. Samdani, Dr. VanBosse, Dr. Piatt, Dr. Roth, Dr. Sponsellar, Dr. Romer, Dr. Bernier, Dr. Fachler, Dr. Levin, Dr. Stockwell, Dr. Walsh, Dr. Mock, Dr. Shapiro, Dr. Sarraf, Dr. Batanieh, Dr. Koor, Dr. Shafiei, Dr. Martineau, Dr. Bradford, Dr. Rhodes, Dr. Balian, Dr. Coulson, Dr. Landvoight, Dr. Holden, Dr. Spenkle, Dr. Fridkin and Dr. Dorsey.
Family and friends will be received at Durst Funeral Home, 57 Frost Avenue, Frostburg, MD on Thursday, June 30, 2022 from 3:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M.
A Celebration of Life Funeral will be held a Durst Funeral Home on Friday, July 1, 2022 at 11:30 A.M. with Pastor Bruce McBride officiating.
Private family interment will be in St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Church Cemetery in Red House, MD, with Deacon Mary Sanders officiating and escorted by Shaft Volunteer Fire Department Company 17.
Pallbearers are William P. Jackson, William A. Jackson, Bradley A. Jackson, Kevin W. Calcamp, Andrew C. Roth, Christopher M. Calcamp and Russell W. Albright. Honorary, William G. Kelley, William L. Kelley, Wayne E. Miller JR., John D. Michaels and Jose M. Ayala.
Dustin was known to many organizations especially the Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia where he received most of his surgeries and care to extend his life. Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Clinic for OI research in Baltimore gave him a better quality of life. He was also part of The Arc of Frederick County and Resources for Independence. Because of the help Dustin received from our local organizations, he would want others in his community to benefit in the same way by making donations in lieu of flowers to The Arc of Frederick County, 620A Research Court, Frederick MD 21703 and our local Resources for Independence 735 E Oldtown Rd, Cumberland, MD 21502.
Dustin was a strong, resilient, courageous, persevering, fearfully and wonderfully made Christian with a giant compassionate heart, a love dedicated for God and his Savior Jesus and his family. He absolutely made his own decisions all his life. A big smile that will never fade from our memories. We are missing you our JOYOUS Lil’ man.