Obituary: Darnell Oldham Sr.

By Andy Balaskovitz
Oldham speaking to the Lansing City Council in February.

Lansing City Council regular Darnell Oldham Sr. passes

Friday, July 5 — In less than six months, the Lansing City Council has lost two of its most vocal and regular critics from the public. Darnell Oldham Sr., known for biting speeches amplified by repetition and the occasional pause, passed away on Tuesday after a battle with cancer. He was 66.

For years, Oldham and fellow Council regular John Pollard delivered a grandiose one-two punch to Council members — particularly those seen as allies to Mayor Virg Bernero — on issues ranging from land zoning to the budget. Pollard passed away in January, also after battling cancer.

One of Oldham’s more memorable scenes at Council happened in 2007 when he tossed a hangman’s noose before the dais because he thought the Council was “strangling” his right to free speech.

At-Large Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar has said that while Pollard’s and Oldham’s demeanor at the Council chambers podium could be rash and critical, and often directed at her, interactions she had with them outside of City Hall were cordial and friendly.

Visitation will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at Faith United Methodist Church located at 4301 S. Waverly Road in Lansing. The service will follow visitation at noon.