Longtime Reflector employee remembered for optimism and integrity


Those who spent a reasonable amount of time around Darlene Carr can attest to her seemingly endless optimism. Carr worked in advertising for The Reflector over the span of more than three decades and those close to her said she rarely had a bad thing to say about any situation.

Carr’s optimism continued on as she faced a monthslong illness that eventually led to her death on May 3. Former co-worker Karen Sangali recalled how after a medical consultation, Carr resolved to prove a grim prognosis wrong to the best of her abilities.

“She had such a positive attitude about everything,” Sangali said.

Carr was hired at The Reflector in 1984, a few years after then-owner and publisher Marvin Case bought the newspaper. She served on the advertising side of the business for the better part of 35 years. She briefly took a job at The Columbian but came back to The Reflector and at one point retired before being brought back on a part-time basis. Carr retired for a second, more permanent time, at the end of 2019.

Darlene Carr’s son, Zac, said his mother was rushed to the hospital in October for what ended up being a bowel obstruction. It was also determined she had an aortic aneurysm. Following surgery on April 12 to correct the aneurysm, Darlene developed complications and never left the intensive care unit, he said.

Given a prognosis that required her to be on dialysis constantly, Darlene made the decision to stop treatment, her son said. He was thankful she was able to make the decision herself, which was always something she was determined to do.

“When it came to her, she called all the shots,” he said.

Zac reflected on his mother’s “constant optimism, the living life’s journey” she exemplified. He said she was good at “admiring the little things, the artistry of life,” which was especially evident at her Washougal home which he described as a “museum of art.”

“She was a true creative artist and she got her inspiration from every step on this planet,” Zac said. “She just exuded it to everybody else.”

Darlene’s unique sense of fashion especially stood out. She was described as the “Goodwill queen” for her penchant of going through thrift stores to compose her countless outfits.

Her son said Darlene was a perfectionist in her passions, be it gardening as a form of therapy, or her passion for work.

With regard to her tenure at The Reflector, Zac said Darlene wouldn’t compromise her values of equal treatment for clients and only sold clients what they needed. Both her son and Darlene’s longtime boss, Case, recalled how she would arrive early in the morning, in part to have conversations with Case about the business before the day got started.

Zac recalled his mother’s dedication to the job, noting the dining room table at home was always filled with work from The Reflector.

“She felt responsible for paying everybody’s bills,” Zac said.

Case said he didn’t have to worry much about any part of the advertising side of the paper because Darlene had it all covered.

“She was responsible for our success over our years,” Case said. “I owe her so much and I’ve told her that.”