Recent Obituaries
In Memoriam Archive

Darunee von Fleckenstein Wilson ’84

December 30, 2020, in Rowayton, Connecticut, of complications from leiomyosarcoma.

Darunee’s parents were among the first United States Peace Corps volunteers to serve in Thailand, where she was born in Chiang Mai. She grew up variously in Hawaii, while her father, Fritz von Fleckenstein ’61, completed his doctorate in agricultural economics at the University of Hawaii; in Thailand, where her parents adopted her sister from an orphanage; and in Papua New Guinea, where Darunee assisted her father with his research.

Ellen Kimura Eades ’85 remembered that Darunee played the white queen in a human chess game at Renn Fayre her senior year and founded and led the Reed madrigal group, which incorporated international music as well as English-language madrigals.

“We learned the Pennywhistlers’ song ‘Shto Mi E Milo’ which was featured in a film about Reed College, the Zulu freedom anthem ‘Tina Sizwe,’ the Mandarin-language version of the 23rd Psalm, ‘Fine Knacks for Ladies,’ and ‘Never Weather-Beaten Saile,’” Ellen recalled. “Darunee was passionate about Shakespeare and a dearly beloved resident of the Reed house the White Barn.”

Darunee wrote her thesis on Falstaff advised by Prof. Robert Knapp [English 1974–2020]. She was accepted into the U.S. Peace Corps for an assignment teaching English at the University of Sana’a in the capital of North Yemen, where she met her future husband, William Wilson, who was working for the British Council in Yemen. Returning to the United States in 1986, Darunee took a position at the Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C., as a part of the team managing programs in Thailand, Papua New Guinea, and the Comoros.

She married William in 1989, at the Anglican church in Amman, Jordan, where William had been transferred. Shortly before the Gulf War, the couple relocated to Phoenix, Arizona, where William studied for an MBA and Darunee graduated summa cum laude from Arizona State University with a master’s in secondary education. The couple settled in Rowayton, Connecticut. While William pursued a career on Wall Street, Darunee taught at Rowayton Elementary School and Roton Middle School. She was deeply involved in Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church in Darien, serving on the vestry, teaching confirmation, and working with church staffers to rewrite the three-year confirmation class.

She is survived by her husband, William; her daughters, Miranda Ruth and Charlotte Dagmar; her parents, Fritz and Ruth von Fleckenstein; and her sister, Penny Fleckenstein.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2021

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