January 22, 1944 – May 25, 2014
Darlene Grace Betette, passed peacefully at home surrounded by family on May 25, 2014, after a long illness. She will be remembered as the devoted matriarch of her family and for her many passions in life. Darlene overcame much adversity and had faced many challenges. Despite humble beginnings, she worked tirelessly throughout her life to improve herself and become a better person. She was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother, and will be sorely missed.
Darlene was born Hazel Darlene Kirkpatrick to William Kirkpatrick and Anita Richardson on January 22, 1944, in McConnelsville, Ohio. After having been orphaned as a small child, she was raised by adoptive parents in nearby Wheeling West Virginia, only to later lose her adoptive mother and grandmother as a young girl.
As a teenager, Darlene attended Our Lady of the Valley convent school outside Wheeling where she blossomed under the tutelage and watchful eyes of the nuns. She found community at the school and thrived in the rigorous environment. Darlene maintained a close personal friendship with several of the nuns that lasted throughout her life up to the time of her passing.
Education and learning were among Darlene’s many passions. In later years, while on her own as a single parent working full time, Darlene managed to complete a bachelor’s degree in psychology. At the time of her passing, Darlene was working towards a master’s degree. Darlene was also passionate about politics, a subject she did not take lightly. As a young woman during the “Camelot” years of the 1960s, she worked at the National Institute for Public Affairs in Washington DC. She was a devoted life-long Democrat and had been politically active locally working to help ensure the integrity of the vote.
Darlene loved music and was a talented musician. She played piano, sang professionally in a jazz combo for many years, and had been a featured vocalist for the Cupertino Swing Band. Darlene was also a gifted writer and had been working on a semi-autobiographical novel as well as an analysis of the 2000 election debacle when she passed. Despite her many talents and interests, Darlene’s greatest passion by far was her family. Her only real fear in facing her mortality was that she would have to leave her children.
Darlene is survived by Robert, her husband and partner of 21 years; sons Jerry (Anouk) and Paul (Linda) Dorrance; daughters Holly (Kurt) Mattson and Katherine Mills; brothers Dean and Bill Kirkpatrick, and sister Freda Smith. Her grandchildren include Laura Trumble, Olivia (Ryan) Duncan, and Sofia, Alana and Amber Dorrance. Great grandchildren include Hannah Trumble, and Bridgette and Liam Duncan. Darlene was pre-deceased by her natural parents, her adoptive parents Eugene and Lucille Schellhase, and brothers Hugo and Burl Kirkpatrick.
A Funeral Mass will be held on June 20, 2014, at Our Lady of Loretto Church in Novato, California, at 11:00 am with a Memorial Service to follow at 1:00 pm at Unity Center on Hamilton in Ignacio. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to the Melanoma Research Foundation and Hospice by the Bay.
Arrangements entrusted to Keaton's Redwood Chapel.
- Funeral Service Friday, June 20, 2014
- Memorial- Celebration of Life Friday, June 20, 2014
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May 24, 2015
I see you in my dreams and carry you in my heart. It has been a long and painful year without you mom. Many mistakes made many ties severed, but you remain my guide. I love you with all of my heart.
Your Holly Berry
June 24, 2014
Music, when soft voices die
Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory—
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.
Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heaped for the beloved's bed;
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
The Poetry Foundation
June 24, 2014
I love and miss you so much Grandmama. I will never forget you and all the valuable things you taught me about life! You will always be a cherished influence in my life! I will love you forever and for always aquarian queen!
June 23, 2014
A true friend accept us as we are foibles and all. Darlene was my true friend.
June 23, 2014
Grandma, I will always remember our special vacations together, our Silver legacy weekend stays and room service and all of our trips to the movie theaters. I will cherish you wisdom and advice forever. Not a day goes by that I don't think of you. I'll Love you for eternity!
Love forever Laura Li
Holly Dorrance Mattson
June 22, 2014
It seems like an eternity since you passed but it has only been five weeks. There are not adequate words to express the depth of my love and gratitude for you.
You once said to me " I am so proud of you for putting yourself through nursing school. You did it on your own without encouragement or motivation from anyone!." My reply to you was "are you kidding me mom? Look in the mirror. You are the ultimate example of a strong,intelligent, resourceful , independent woman."Through your example, I was able to achieve something great. More than I thought I could. You were my greatest cheerleader. Encouraging me forward and telling not to give up during the darkest days.
You were so brave and dignified even in your final days. Even though your physical body was deteriorating, your spirit was evolving, preparing you for your journey home.
Thank you for allowing your children and husband to send you off with love and support. I will never forget your last breaths as I watch your spirit take flight.
You are one of kind.
In your words, I love you! I miss you!.
Until we are reunited in heaven, farewell, my beautiful, sweet mommy. XOXOXO.
June 22, 2014
I love and miss you mom. You will be forever on my mind and in my heart.
Always and Forever your Holly Berry