Theodore Arthur Darling (1890-1971), Tire Man

AWR 4-20-1922

Abilene Weekly Reflector – April 20, 1922

Theodore Arthur Darling was born on October 29, 1890 in Gypsum, Kansas to George O. Darling and Mary Henrietta Geaque.  Theo lived and worked on his father’s farm in Eureka Township, Saline County, Kansas.  On November 16, 1910, Theo married Cora May Hartman whose parents (Samuel Hartman and Sarah Warfel) lived near Carlton.  The young couple moved to Abilene around 1912, where his older brother, Oliver Lewis Darling owned a draying company.  Theo worked at a creamery and the family lived at 1502 NW. 3rd Street along with his widowed mother.  They would live at this house for nearly 30 years.  Oliver lived a block away at 1400 NW. 3rd Street.  Theo and Cora would have three daughters: Henrietta May, Rosetta Elizabeth (White), and Merle Irene (Zimmerman).

By 1920, Theo was working as an insurance agent and soon after decided to open Darling’s Vulcanizing Tire Service at 311 N. Cedar Street (currently Stephens Chiropractic).  The shop moved next door to 309 N. Cedar Street (currently Dance In Motion) and became known as Darling’s Tire Service.  The company move to 413 NW. 3rd around 1928 (currently John’s Upholstery).  The business was a family affair with employees including his daughter, Henrietta May Darling (Mauldin), son in-law Roy Wesley Mauldin, nephew Lewis George Darling, and nephew Morris Edwin Darling.  The business would move a final time to 308 N. Buckeye Avenue in the 1930’s (currently Shivering Sheep and Material Girls Quilt Shop).

Darling's Tire Service in the mid 1920s- exterior

Darling’s Tire Service (abt. 1928) located at 413 NW. 3rd Street, Abilene.  L to R: Morris Edwin Darling, Roy Wesley Mauldin, Henrietta May Darling (Mauldin), Lewis George Darling, and Theodore Arthur Daring (on motorcycle).


413 NW. 3rd Street as it is today (2018)

Darling's Tire Service in the mid 1920s- interior

Interior of Darling’s Tire Service at 413 NW. 3rd Street (abt. 1928)

In 1941, Theodore sold the business and purchased a farm outside of Seymour, Missouri in Webster County.  There he would engage in farming and was active in the Masons.  Theo died in Seymour, Missouri on March 18, 1971.  Cora would return to Abilene where she died on October 26, 1985.  They are buried Seymour Masonic Cemetery in Seymour, Missouri.



About James D. Holland

I'm a former local government planner turned real estate agent turned safety manager turned Chamber of Commerce Director, turned marketing sales representative... phew. I enjoy writing about Abilene's history, businesses, events, politics, and anything else that interests me.
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2 Responses to Theodore Arthur Darling (1890-1971), Tire Man

  1. Ronald Britt says:

    James…. thanks again. Is Ray Darling related to this Darling family? Ray would be around 80 yrs old now if still living.

    • James D. Holland says:

      Yes, Ray is a grand nephew to Theodore Arthur Darling. Ray’s dad was Marshall Vernon Darling and his grandfather was the Oliver Lewis Darling mentioned in the article.

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