Amy Darden Estelle

Published 7:26 pm Friday, January 18, 2019

Amy Darden Estelle, age 68, passed away peacefully, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, when the moon was in it’s first quarter, at home in Albuquerque with her wife by her side and snow gently covering the landscape.

She graduated in 1968 from LaGrange High School, received her B.S. microbiology in 1972 from University of Georgia, her M.S. resource management and administration from Antioch New England Graduate School in 1990, then her doctor of philosophy American studies from the University of New Mexico in 1997.

Amy worked as a field biologist for 20 years in diverse ecosystems and as a environmental studies instructor; and six years in direct observation of many species including bears, hawks and wolves. For decades she worked in the peace and social justice movements and multiple environmental organizations.

Amy retired as a project manager with the Research Bureau of the New Mexico State Department of Transportation. One of her favorite jobs was a park ranger in the Blue Ridge mountains for two and a half seasons.

Some of her memberships, awards and achievements were the Albuquerque Astronomical Society from whom she received a lifetime achievement award, and Friends of Bosque Del Apache from whom she received a pin commemorating more than 1,000 hours of volunteer time.

She was a member of Friends of Valle De Oro Wildlife Refuge; and was an active member of the Rio Grande Center for Spiritual Living where she enjoyed teaching the youth.

Amy’s passion was astronomy. Cultural astronomy being her specialty. She traveled the world to attend Star Parties. She was an avid birder with a special fondness for ducks, owls, brown pelicans, egrets and great blue herons. She loved the environment and all the beauty nature has to behold.

She was a avid college football fan with the Georgia Bulldogs being her team. Amy was a patient, knowledgeable teacher on most any subject. She devoured books with the same ferocity she devoured chocolate ice cream.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Henry Richard and Mabel Gladney Darden; two siblings, Henry Richard Darden Jr. and Alice Darden Cavender.

Amy is survived by her loving spouse of 14 years, Nancy Henson; goddaughter, Hannah Lynn Redwood; and extended family, Sondra Redwood. Also surviving are her siblings and their spouses, Charles Darden (Peggy), Joel Darden (Virginia), Joyce Darden Smith (Bob) and Randy Darden (Pat); numerous nieces and nephew throughout the country; her little doggies, Ava and Georgia; and a huge constellation of friends who appreciated her gentle, generous spirit, humbleness, storytelling and loving heart.

There will be a graduation ceremony/party at the Rio Grande Center for Spiritual Living in the near future under a new moon to honor Amy.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Amy’s name may be made to TAAS, Hawks Aloft, Valle De Oro Wildlife Refuge, Bosque Del Apache or The Southern Poverty Law Center. 

Those who wish to express the condolences online, please visit

Amy’s care is entrusted to: Daniels Family Funeral Services ~ Alameda Mortuary, Albuquerque, NM, (505) 898-3160.