Extremely shy but very beautiful, Darlene met Dr. Ray Hardy when she took the position as radiology
assistant and dietary assistant manager at Pungo District Hospital in Belhaven, NC.
He was a marine biologist attached to Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, NC. He swept her off her feet
introducing her to a world she never knew existed. He, and his brother, Dan, owned Prime Properties,
Inc. that had assets in excess of a billion dollars.
On their first date, she wore a green cocktail dress and he was mesmerized by her beauty. Later, in St.
Croix, he bought her another one.
Now, he was in Australia doing a research project on the Great Barrier Reef. He promised Darlene that it
would be the last one and they’d never be apart again.
True to his word, He met her in Hawaii that July asking her to be his wife. She couldn’t have been
happier until Sunday. She returned home knowing he’d be in Australia for another nine long months.
She would spend Christmas alone in their cottage on Bath Creek. She was lonely but she was counting
the days until he returned.
His year in Australia was almost complete and her excitement grew by leaps and bounds with each
passing day until she received the call.
Her brother-in-law, Dan, sadly informed her that Ray’s plane had gone down in the ‘outback.’
“The bush pilot had no transponder or radio onboard. They flew by the seat of their pants.”
Darlene was devastated, was he hurt or even worse? Would she ever see her ‘Mr. Right,’ again?
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