IN MEMORIAM

Col. Joseph John Darlak II, M.D., Retired, passed away peacefully on October 16, 2017. Dr. Darlak was born in North Tonawanda, New York on March 18, 1931. He graduated from the University of Buffalo School of Medicine in 1956 after receiving a degree in Chemistry from the School of Arts and Sciences. He interned at Boston City Hospital and trained in Diagnostic Radiology at Madigan General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. He served his residency at Fitzsimmons General Hospital in Denver, Colorado. In 1975, Dr. Darlak received a fellowship in Special Procedures while attending the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, DC, where he also served as Associate Clinical Professor of Radiology at Georgetown University Hospital.
Dr. Darlak served in the US Army Medical Corps for 22 years and was stationed abroad in Germany, Lebanon, and Japan. While overseas in Japan, Dr. Darlak served as Chief Consultant in Radiology to the Commanding General and to the Army Medical Command where he was instrumental in building a thousand-bed hospital for Vietnam casualties. He also served as the Chief consultant in Radiology to the Commanding General and Army Medical Command Europe while he was stationed in Germany. Dr. Darlak received the Army Commendation Medal twice, the US Forces Expeditionary Medal, the National Defense Medal twice and the Meritorious Service award.
In 1979, after retiring from the military and his post as Chairman of the Department of Radiology at Walter Reed Medical Center, Washington, DC, Dr. Darlak was appointed Associate Professor of Radiology at LSU Medical Center and Chairman of Angiography and Special Procedures at Charity Hospital. He subsequently practiced on the staffs of Jo Ellen Smith Hebert Hospital, Mercy Hospital, Meadowcrest Hospital and Tulane School of Medicine. Dr. Darlak held offices including the President of the New Orleans Radiology Society and Chairman of the Board; Chairman of the Federal Sub-Committee Data Compression and Film Storage on Optic Laser Disc, Department of the Army Readiness Command and Chairman of the Federal Subcommittee, Allocation and Justifications of Cardiovascular Laboratories in Military and VA Hospitals.
Upon retirement from LSU and Charity Hospital, Dr. Darlak obtained additional medical licenses in Alaska, Arkansas, The Bahamas, Maryland, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Virginia and practiced as a locum tenens Radiologist while traveling the country.
Dr. Darlak was an accomplished world traveler who shared his zest for adventure with his family on many exciting trips around the globe. One of his greatest personal accomplishments was visiting and skiing all seven continents. He also was an avid golfer and tennis player. He was a member of the Military Order of Foreign Wars of the US, Louisiana Commandery, the Round Table Club, the New Orleans Opera Club, the Aesculapians, among other social organizations.
He is survived by his daughters, Laurie A. Keese of Poolesville, MD, Mrs. Jean-Pierre Charlebois (Jeanne), sons, Joseph J. Darlak III of Dallas, TX and Jeffrey E. Darlak; six grandchildren, Madelyn, Katelyn and Mackenzie Keese, Jake and Ella Darlak and Simone Charlebois; brother, John, Eugene, Thaddeus and Dr. Robert Darlak and sister Delores Koszelak.  He is preceded in death by his beloved wife of 44 years, Gloria Jean Ross Darlak.

Micaela “Kell” Kelly Bennett, the beloved wife of Dorian M. Bennett and adoring mother of Delia Caroline Bennett, passed away in her New Orleans home surrounded by loved ones on Wednesday, August 9th following a strong and inspiring fight against a rare cancer. Kell was known by many as a creative businesswoman, artist, philanthropist, Francophile, chef, golfer and ‘hostess with the most-est’. Born and raised in New Orleans, she attended The Academy of the Sacred Heart and later LSU, Baton Rouge. Kell went on to spend her twenties and thirties living in Stuttgart, Germany and Paris, France. While in Germany, she participated in an equestrian club that included members of the Porsche and Jagermeister families. During her time in Paris, she opened Kell’s Corner, a unique needlepoint store in the 7th Arrondissement which was the first American-inspired needlepoint store of its kind in France. Kell’s Corner gained renown for Kell’s gorgeous hand-painted canvases and wide selection of colorful threads. Her clientele included Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Capucine, Hubert de Givenchy, and many more eclectic Parisians whom she remained friends with over the years. In 1986, Kell moved back to New Orleans and in 1988 married local real estate broker Dorian Bennett and gave birth to their only child, Delia Caroline Bennett, in 1991. For years she devoted her life to supporting her husband in his business and their daughter as she grew into a young woman. Immediately following Katrina, the Bennett’s moved temporarily to Baton Rouge, where Kell spread her joy further. She made friends wherever she went. As an ’empty-nester’, Kell returned to the retail sector and opened The White Camellia Garden & Gifts on Magazine Street, where she became known for her gourmet olive oils, mustards and spreads that she greeted customers with when they entered her shop. Her kindness, humor, and joyful personality left a lasting mark on all who were lucky enough to know her. She is predeceased in death by her parents, Eloise and William F. Kelly and survived by her husband of 29 years, Dorian M. Bennett; daughter, Delia Caroline Bennett; sisters, Carmen Kelly Vendenabeele; Pamela Kelly Sills; Beth Kelly Cook; Amélie Kelly; brother, Allen Kelly; and numerous nieces and nephews. Visitation will be held at 11 am and funeral services at 1 pm on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, 1025 Napoleon Ave., New Orleans,LA. Honorary pallbearers include Jamie Bernstein; Glade Bilby; Bob Edmundson; Greer Farris; Herbert Halpern; Allen Kelly; Tom Reagan; Jerry St. Pierre; Kelly C. Sills; and Kenneth F. Sills. A private internment service for family and immediate friends will take place at Lake Lawn Metairie Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers, Dorian and Delia request that donations be made in Kell’s honor to either The New Orleans Opera Association or The New Orleans Musician’s Clinic. To view and sign the family guestbook, please visit lakelawnmetairie.com.

Hugo Wedemeyer, age 88, resident of Metairie, Louisiana, and the French Quarter, died on Wednesday, August 16, 2017. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, he was the son of Carl and Violet Wedemeyer. He attended Fortier High School in New Orleans and Tulane University.

 

He was preceded in death by his wife of 39 years Stella Mongeau Wedemeyer and his daughter Heidi Wedemeyer. Survivors include his four children: Carl Wedemeyer, Eric Wedemeyer, Lisa Rogers, and Kristi Hilgaertner; two daughters-in law: Susan Wedemeyer and Sachiko Wedemeyer; two sons-in-law: Chuck Sears and Matthew Hilgaertner; his sister Barbara Edmunson; and five grandchildren.

 

Also preceding him in death was his second wife Barbara Elliott Wedemeyer, with whom he enjoyed 22 years of marriage. He shared with Barbara her four children and their spouses: Bill Elliott III, Barbara and Dale Higgins, Betsy and Henry Guepet, and Beverly Branch; ten grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

 

After serving in the Air Force during the Korean War, he embarked on a long and distinguished career in the marine insurance business, retiring from Southern Marine & Aviation Underwriters in 1989. After retirement, he enthusiastically indulged his love of art, music, philosophy, travel, and general good living. He was active in civic and arts organizations including the Historic New Orleans Collection, the New Orleans Opera, and the Mardi Gras Krewe of Sparta, where he served as Duke of the French Quarter. He was a long-time and ardent supporter of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra as donor, board member, and archivist.

 

A loving and much-loved father, grandfather, husband, and friend of many, he will be fondly remembered for his humor, sharp mind, disdain for all things mediocre, and his relentless quest for the perfect Sazerac.

 

A celebration of his life will be held on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. at Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home, 5100 Pontchartrain Blvd. in New Orleans.  In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. To view and sign the guestbook, please visit lakelawnmetairie.com