Darren Scott Ginther, 38, of Roseville, Minnesota, died June 16, 2022, two days after suffering a massive heart attack. If Darren had a say, his full obituary would read: “Darren died. In his honor, go hang out with some friends. Bring a beverage and a coozie.” However, here is what his wife Michelle, their kids, his mother Sue, family, friends, and colleagues need to share about Darren and how special he was.
Darren was born January 23, 1984, to Carsten and Sue Ginther. He was the youngest of 3 brothers, and grew up in Crystal, Minnesota, playing baseball and football, weight-lifting, golfing, playing tennis, and bowling. Sports were an important part of who Darren was. His father died of a heart attack when Darren was 11. Sue raised her boys with grit and courage, and she never missed one of Darren’s baseball games. Darren was dedicated to supporting her with anything she needed. He also had mentors throughout his teenage and young-adult life who helped to shape the person he became.
Darren graduated from Armstrong High School and went on to Valparaiso and Augsburg universities—playing baseball for both. Darren’s dedication to baseball ran deep in college and in Twin Cities amateur baseball circles. He had a phrase many teammates knew: “Be a great ball player, but always be an even better dude.” Darren was an incredible teammate, mentor, and coach.
He met Michelle Wiens at Augsburg, and they were married September 11, 2010, surrounded by family and friends, beneath an oak tree on a beautiful, sunny fall day in Rochester, Minnesota. He was her steady rock and constant support. They welcomed their son Carsten on March 29, 2013, and daughter Lucy on April 2, 2016.
Darren brought fun to the family and everywhere he went. He was the social guy, the plan-maker, the one-line dropper, and the jokester. He had quick humor, loved a good Craigslist deal, and never stopped searching for real estate or a new car. He also loved spending as much time as possible at the cabin with family and friends—fishing in all seasons, boating, manning the grill, and sitting by the fire at night to capture all of the treasures of social life.
Carsten and Lucy adore their dad. He and Carsten connected through sports—football, baseball, fishing, and time on the trampoline. Darren also coached Carsten’s Roseville Raiders 9U baseball team. He was Lucy’s snuggler and proudly wore jewelry she crafted, displayed artwork she made, and rocked nail polish of all colors on his fingers and toes. Carsten and Lucy were the apples of Darren’s eye.
Never a big fan of sharing about himself, Darren approached life with extreme humility. However, his impact was enormous and will live on in the hearts of many.
Darren had an unrelenting energy for friendship and made time for every one of his friends. His charm was magnetic and larger-than-life. People attached to him like second nature. In all of his friendships and throughout all of his years, Darren remained a loyal friend and confidante to a vast number of people. There was no “making small talk.” Everything was full, honest, sincere, and complete. He was all in.
His charisma was no different at work. Darren was a universally loved and respected leader in Saint Paul Public Schools, where he served as Director of the Office of College and Career Readiness. He found solutions to every problem and wanted to make sure that all students were given opportunities and access. He was also masterful at sending just the right GIF at the right moment.
Among his many accomplishments in SPPS, Darren created the Gateway to College program, giving students an opportunity to finish high school in a college setting; nearly doubled the number of school counselors in the district; ensured that every elementary school has a school counselor; led the creation of Personal Learning Plans for all PreK-12 students as a way to help them believe in their potential and articulate their dreams; and supported creation of the Districtwide Career Pathway Program - an innovative partnership between Saint Paul Public Schools, Minnesota State, and 3M.
Darren knew heart disease ran in the family and was doing everything medically available to prevent this very scenario. The family extends their thanks to the Roseville Police and Fire departments, Allina EMTs, and Cardiovascular ICU staff on 4E at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center for all the ways they tried to save Darren.
Darren is survived by his wife Michelle Ginther, son Carsten (9) and daughter Lucy (6); mother Sue Ginther and brothers Rob Ginther (Elisse) and Justen Ginther; two nephews; and many other family and friends who all miss him deeply. He is preceded in death by his father Carsten Ginther.
A funeral to honor Darren’s life will be held Monday, June 27, at the Augsburg University chapel inside Foss Center, 625 22nd Ave. S., Minneapolis, at 2 p.m. Visitation of his cremated remains will be held two hours before, beginning at noon. A gathering with light refreshments will follow.
Parking is available in Lot D, 810 21st Ave.S.; Lot L, 802 25th Ave. S.; and anywhere on the street. Lot parking will not require permits.
The funeral will be livestreamed for remote viewing for those unable to attend in person and if overflow seating is needed onsite. Please consider any COVID-19 symptoms and exposures and follow related guidelines before choosing to attend in person.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Saint Paul Public Schools Office of College and Career Readiness. Donated funds will go toward programs that support the students and families whom Darren served with such intense dedication. Mail to: 1780 W. 7th St., Saint Paul, MN 55116.