Darryl Marlon Harper was born on August 18, 1950, to the late Chester and Joretta (Gaither) Harper in Plainfield, New Jersey. Darryl peacefully passed away surrounded by his loved ones, at UPMC Shadyside Hospital, on August 18, 2020, which was his 70th birthday.
Darryl’s family moved to McKeesport, Pennsylvania in the early 1950s. His family attended at Bethlehem Baptist Church in McKeesport where Darryl was baptized at the age of 12. Darryl attended McKeesport Area High School and graduated valedictorian in 1968. While in high school, he met the love of his life Valerie Lloyd at Roller Rink, when she was just 15 years old. He was particularly enamored by her tight pants. Her father would not allow them to date until she was 16. On Valerie’s 16th birthday, the persistent Darryl knocked on the Lloyd family door and asked permission to take Valerie on a date. (Darryl wanted to take Valerie to the drive-in movies on this first date. Her father granted permission, but insisted that Valerie wear pants.) Three years later they were married on September 4, 1971. They enjoyed a loving marriage for the past almost 49 years.
Darryl furthered his education at Lehigh University and then concluded his studies at the Pittsburgh Institute of Technology in 1979. He worked as a nuclear technician at Westinghouse Electric for 10 years. Thereafter, he worked as a Construction – Certified Labor Steward for more than 20 years. From July 2004 until his passing, Darryl worked as a Facilities Technician at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), even while he battled cancer. While working at CMU, Darryl saved the life of a colleague by running up two flights of steps with a defibrillator, to save his life after suffering a heart attack. CMU honored Darryl for this act of heroism.
Darryl was a sports and music enthusiast. He played football in high school and continued by coaching his son’s baseball team. He was also an avid Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Pirates fan. Darryl also volunteered his time at the Cancer Institute. He loved to cook meals for his loved ones and friends, work in the garden, and build things with his hands. Above all else, he was a FAMILY man. He enjoyed spending time with all his grandchildren and great-children and supporting them in all their activities. He was a hard-worker who enjoyed tackling many projects around the house. His family believed that he could fix anything. He was fiercely independent with a tremendous work ethic.
Darryl is survived by his loving wife Valerie, his daughter, Nikkol Harper of Atlanta; two sons, Khalid (DaMika), Hasan Harper both of Monroeville; eight grandchildren, Khalill (Miray), Deon, Dallas, Briana, Dyson, Khalid, Jr., Miko, and Mikala; 2 great-grandchildren, Ava and Lilly. He is also survived by his brother, Chester Deron (Toni) Harper of McKeesport; uncle, Larry (Janice) Gaither, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family and friends. He is preceded in death by his grandparents Will and Lily Harper and Lonnie and Nettie Gaither.
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