Temple’s School of Media and Communications lost one of its own this past weekend.
Darlene Brindle Waties, 51, a permanent fixture at the Philadelphia Daily News and a frequent adjunct journalism instructor, passed away in her sleep on Friday night, the Daily News reported on Monday. The cause of death is yet to be determined. Her husband, David W. Waties, told the Daily News his wife suffered from diabetes.
Darlene Waties, fondly remembered by colleagues for her “larger than life personality,” had most recently taught Writing for Journalism in the spring semester of 2013.
“She was loud, and she was crazy, and she would completely speak off the top of her head, and it was awesome,” said George Miller, a full-time journalism professor at SMC and a former colleague of Waties at the Daily News. “Listening to her in her classroom was like listening to her in the newsroom, where she’s the most real person you could ever possibly imagine.”
A full-time page designer for the Daily News since 2001, Waties was remembered in similar fashion by her Daily News colleagues, who said in a Monday tribute story that she brought energy and enthusiasm to the newsroom.
“Darlene filled the room – confident, passionate, and, to borrow the title from Maya Angelou’s classic poem, she was a ‘phenomenal woman,’” Daily News editor Michael Days said in an obituary published Monday.
Former Daily News copy editor, designer and wife of former Temple journalism professor Joel Hoffmann, Nina Hoffmann, said the energy of the newsroom was what made Waties tick.
“She loved it. She loved the energy of working the night news desk,” Hoffmann said in an e-mail. “If there was an argument, she’d jump in and say her piece. She was assertive and SO sassy, and I always loved that about her.”
But it wasn’t just about the attitude. Behind the loud exterior, Hoffmann said Waties was genuine to the core.
“I was never just a colleague or even a friend to her. She treated me like a daughter. I remember her hugging me at my wedding and I could tell she was legitimately proud of me, of watching me grow up.,” Hoffmann said. “She was such a kind person. It’s people like Darlene that make the Daily News a really special place to work. The people there, they wanna get up in your business because they truly care. That was Darlene.”
Waties had taught Writing for Journalism six times since taking a regular adjunct position in 2008. Fellow professors remembered hearing her booming voice carry through the hallways of Annenberg Hall, and said she connected with her students through the same no-nonsense attitude she brought to the newsroom.
“She was a great personality, larger than life, very funny. Engaging person. As a teacher, the students very much enjoyed her, [they] thought that they really learned the craft of journalism well from her,” said Andrew Mendelson, chair of the journalism department.
“[She was] always talking about teaching more if the opportunity came up. [She] just really loved it,” he added.
Ali Watkins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @AliMArieWatkins.