Jon Eric Darling
May 23, 1962 ~ September 16, 2023
Resided in: Fargo, ND
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Jon Eric Darling, 61, Fargo, ND, died on September 16, 2023 in Becker County, Minn.
Jon was born on May 23, 1962 to Alice and Robert Darling, in Rolla, ND. The family moved to Grand Forks, ND where Jon attended Red River High School. He attended NDSCS in Wahpeton, ND and later North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND, where he pursued a bachelor’s degree in athletic training. Jon proudly served 20 years in the North Dakota Army National Guard and was a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Jon was united in marriage to Suzanne Smith on August 6, 1994 in Fargo, ND, where they made their home. They welcomed son, Erik, in 2001 and daughter, Kiernan, in 2002. Jon was a devoted husband and father, taking so much pride in his children.
Jon began his athletic training career in 1990. He worked at American Gold Gymnastics, West Fargo High School and the Fargo Fever. In 2000, he became the lead athletic trainer at Fargo North High School through Sanford Health and Fargo North became his “home away from home”. He received the NATA Service Award in 2014 and the NATA Servant’s Heart Award in 2020. Jon was awarded the NDATA Athletic Trainer of the Year Award in 2014 and was inducted into the NDATA Hall of Fame in 2019 and the Mid-America Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame in 2023. Jon was selected to be a member of the USA medical staff for the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi and for the 2022 USA Special Olympic games in Florida. Jon was passionate about his work as an athletic trainer and touched the lives of people across the globe.
Jon was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed cycling, hunting, and fishing. Jon truly lived his life as a servant to others. He always had a smile on his face and worked to create an atmosphere that was positive and welcoming for all. His legacy will live on through his students, family, and friends. The family invites you to honor Jon by using your passion to make a difference in the lives of others.
Jon is survived by his wife of 29 years, Suzanne Darling, son Erik, daughter Kiernan; brother-in-law David (Colleen) Smith and their children Leo and Norah; sister-in-law Megan (Erik) Redl and their children Alexander, Virginia and Brady; mother-in-law Mary Ann Smith; sister Christa Bjordahl and her daughter Deborah; and sister Margaret Darling and her son Andrew. Jon is also survived by his nephew Michael Schafer and niece Jennifer Linville and many great-nieces and nephews. Jon was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Alice Darling, his sister, Sylvia Schafer, nephew Donny Jussero and his father-in-law John Patrick Smith.
In lieu of flowers, the family wishes to continue the legacy of Jon’s service and passion. A scholarship fund will be established through the ND Athletic Trainers Association in Jon’s honor. For those wishing to donate, checks can be made to the Jon Darling Scholarship Fund. Memorials in Jon’s name can also be given to North Dakota Special Olympics.