Darlene Marie Schilling, 86, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, passed away on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020.
Darlene was born on Sept. 29, 1933, in Auburn, Iowa, to Harvey and Loretta Lesle. She grew up on the family farm and attended a one-room schoolhouse before attending Auburn High School, graduating as valedictorian and homecoming queen in 1951. After high school, she moved to Des Moines where she attended the American Institute of Business (AIB) and graduated with a secretarial degree. Upon graduation, she worked as executive secretary to AIB’s president and later worked for Solar Aircraft in Des Moines where she was introduced to Wayne on a blind date set up by Wayne’s brother-in-law Bob Tedrow, who was Darlene’s boss. Darlene and Wayne were married on Aug. 16, 1959, at Zion Lutheran Church and honeymooned in the Black Hills after having two flat tires on the way.
Darlene and Wayne moved in 1967 to Cedar Rapids, where Darlene focused on raising her three kids. She later began work at Fanny Farmer Candies at Lindale Plaza and then stayed with Fanny Farmer as locations changed from Westdale Mall and downtown. Darlene would take the bus from Gateway Street downtown to the candy store and enjoyed interacting with many regular customers.
Education was very important to Darlene, and she made sure her kids finished their homework. She excelled at writing poems for her kids’ assignments and was proud that they all graduated from college. Darlene never missed sending a card for birthdays and anniversaries and faithfully attended many sporting events and school activities, watching her kids and grandchildren. Darlene was also a huge supporter for all the state universities and enjoyed watching football and basketball games on TV, an equal opportunity bandwagon jumper for any Iowa teams that were having great seasons. She was a lifelong watcher of “As the World Turns” and more recently never missed an episode of “Survivor.”
Darlene loved animals and helped her kids maintain a zoo-worthy collection of pets including fish, hamsters, guinea pigs, a dog and scores of cats over years, including her favorites, Snowball, Snickers and Sunny. She supported rescuing pets and giving them a better life.
Wayne and Darlene enjoyed their life together in Cedar Rapids, living close enough to Noelridge Park for many years allowing Darlene to watch baseball and softball games and take walks to the duck pond. Dalene was a garage sale bargain hunter and never saw a lawn ornament or holiday decoration that she didn’t think couldn’t brighten up her surroundings.
In 2009, Wayne and Darlene celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with their kids and grandchildren in Door County, Wisconsin. They attended Bethany Lutheran Church for more than 50 years, walking with the kids through Sunday school and their Christmas pageants and later attending the Senior Service with Pastor Erickson and Nurse Ronda.
Darlene is survived by her husband of 61 years, Wayne Schilling; their three children and grandchildren: David (wife Carol, Michael, Anna) Schilling, Keith (wife Tracey, Karleigh, Kaden) Schilling, and Linda (husband Joe, Jake, Sam, Shane) Skvor.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her brothers, Duane and Dale; and her grandson Josh Skvor.
Due to COVID concerns, the funeral will be for family only. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Iowa Humane Alliance of Cedar Rapids and Bethany Lutheran Church or a charity of your choice.
Arrangements are under the guidance of Murdoch Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 3855 Katz Drive, Marion, Iowa 52302.
Information available and condolences may be sent via www.murdochfuneralhome.com.