Elderly couple killed in blazing overnight fire

Bob Darby, 79, and Judy Darby, 74, of Spickard, Missouri

UPDATE: Grundy County Coroner Dewayne Slater released to KTVO Friday the preliminary autopsy results on the northern Missouri couple killed in a house fire early Thursday morning.

Slater said the cause of death for Bob Darby, 79, and Judy Darby, 74, of Spickard, Missouri, was apparent smoke inhalation.

Bob was a retired United Methodist minister who served at several churches across northern Missouri over the years.

Judy was a retired school teacher who last taught in the Trenton R-9 School District.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Slater Funeral Home in Trenton.

A Celebration of Life is scheduled for 1 p.m., Saturday, November 16, 2013 in the Spickard R-2 School gym.

That will be followed by a funeral service at 2 p.m. at Spickard United Methodist Church.


A small northern Missouri community is devastated by a blazing overnight house fire that left an elderly Grundy County couple dead.

The fire at 515 Commercial Street in Spickard was called in around 3:30 a.m. Thursday.

The two victims are believed to Bob Darby, 79, and his 74-year-old wife, Judith Darby.

Grundy County Coroner Dewayne Slater told KTVO he will confirm the names on Friday after the medical examiner positively identifies the bodies.

Autopsies were done in Kansas City, Kansas, on Thursday.

The Darbysâ?? neighbor, Ramona Baker, told KTVO Bob Darby was a retired pastor who had served at churches in Green Castle, Green City, Linneus and Spickard, among others.

Training Officer Jesse Richmond with the Spickard Fire Department said flames were shooting from two sides of the old two-story brick home when firefighters arrived on the scene.

Richmond said the Darbysâ?? 100-year-old home was known as the mansion of Spickard.

He said it was always beautifully decorated for Christmas each year.

Richmond told us the fire gutted the home, and heavy machinery was brought in to knock down the outer walls.

Investigators from the state fire marshal's office came to the scene on Thursday.

Richmond said the damage was too extensive for them to be able to figure out what started the fire, so the official cause will go in the books as "undetermined."

Fire crews were on the scene for 12 hours Thursday.

Crews from Grundy County Rural Fire Department and Mercer County Fire Protection District helped in battling the blaze.