Darlis (DJ) Jernigan Darlis Jernigan

First post: Oct 9, 2022 Latest post: Dec 11, 2023




Thank you for visiting our site as we go through this journey to take on cancer. While many of you may already know my dad, many of you may meet him through this site. Let me introduce you to the man we call Darlis, Dad and Papa but to most who know him he simply goes by DJ. I love the term simple in this context as it really defines my Dad's approach to life. To him, life is always about the "simple" things: laugh daily, love freely and remember that we need little in life other than our family and friends. To that end, being generous and helping others has been a staple of his life. From his Engineer training that values logic and thinking things through, to his never ending supply of "Dad jokes and puns" that he to this day loves to share with his family, he remains one of the most positive, patient and genuinely kind hearted people that has inspired all of us to live a life of purpose. 

My dad grew up in the tiny town of Checotah, Oklahoma.. His dad was illiterate but an extremely hard working and gentle man. His mother had a 6th grade education, but ran  a laundromat with her sister Jewell and generally was one of the strongest women we had ever known.  My Dad's life certainly had his challenges growing up, as he did not really speak until he was around 11 years old. Had he been born in this century he would have been diagnosed with Autism. We did learn later in life my dad has Aspergers, a condition we both share and is part of our bond to this day. DJ lost his father before his teen years, and knew the challenges of homelessness as a child.  

Darlis moved with his mother (Ella) to Rogers, AR before his junior year in high school. He  met my mother (Debbie) at Rogers High School, married 3 days after turning 18 and had me 4 months after turning 19. He worked nights while attending the University of Arkansas during the day, graduating with his degree in Electrical engineering. Upon graduation, my dad joined the US Air Force as a civilian and remained with the Department of Defense for the next 35years, primarily at Tinker AFB in OKC, OK. He retired in 2018 as GS-13 serving as lead software systems engineer for the B-1 bomber and formely Chief of the B-2 digital TPS section. Not being one to sit still intellectually, retirement lasted about 3 months before my Dad returned to work with Boeing as a Level 5 Systems Engineer in their Defense Division. 

In his spare time, for most of his thirties, forties and fifties my parents spent alot of their vacation time exploring the outdoors. From our roots in Appalachian America, to the canyons of the Great West and eventually exploring England, Ireland and Scotland to explore our family history. As you might now surmise, my dad is very active in building out our family's genealogy, and in addition to building out a family tree that goes back to the 1600's he runs the Jernigan Ancestry group which has hundreds of members. An avid reader, he has read thousands of books, with historical and Science Fiction being his two favorite genre's. Always an Engineer, he has a love for collecting unique gadgets on his travels, which somehow turned into a love for collecting swords. For those who have not seen his collection, it contains items ranging from early Mongolian and Viking to replicas of items made famous through movies such as Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. 

My parents will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next summer, and as an anniversary present began the journey of building their retirement home in the Margaritaville Community near Panama City, FL. They have one biological son (David), one essentially adopted son that came into our lives in 1984 (Brent), their daughter in law Maggie, two granddaughters, Kaylee and Ashley and countless nieces, nephews and cousins. Last but certainly not least is the "granddog" Coco, a schnauzer who enjoys a very pampered life with her doting owners. We are very blessed to say that as a family we are a very close and loving tribe. 
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