DARLENE WILSON McELROY~ Class of 1950
June 21, 1932 - August 12, 2009
Born June 21, 1932 in Boulder, CO. Died August 12, 2009 in Richland, WA.
Darlene was an exceptional, dedicated human being with a strong societal interest who always met all of her responsibilities to perfection and expected others to do likewise.
As a child she and her sister Bonnie could be frequently found hiking in the Red Rocks around Boulder, CO and along Boulder Creek. At a very early age she cared for her siblings while her mother and father worked the night shift at the Denver Munitions plant. She moved to Richland with her family in 1942 and was a popular student at Sacajawea Grade School and Columbia High School.
She married husband Dave soon after high school and held several positions with the General Electric Company before starting her family.
Darlene lovingly raised 7 children and was an indefatigable friend, confidant, mentor, counselor and playmate to nine adoring grandchildren.
Her homes in Richland, Scottsdale, AZ and Issaquah, WA were works of art, impeccably decorated and continuously maintained to perfection. She was an excellent negotiator responsible for all home purchases and sales. Home was north Richland by the river while the children were growing up. North Scottsdale, AZ close to the Tonto National Forest and McDowell Mountain Range was home for most of the past 20 years with three intervening years in the Issaquah Highlands overlooking the Seattle area. She and husband Dave returned to Richland to a new home at the base of Badger Mountain 4 years ago to be nearer family in Washington State. The last two years were spent near the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale.
She was a travel companion and business advisor to husband Dave supporting the family Management Consulting Business throughout the U.S. and Canada during the past 20 years. Frequently she solved the most perplexing business problems of the day that had escaped the "experts" over dinner.
Darlene was also known for her Christmas cookies and special birthday cakes usually crafted late into the night while laughing hysterically with her children. She was an expert seamstress designing and constructing unique clothing, Halloween costumes and special occasion formals and wedding dresses.
She had a voracious appetite for knowledge with unusual insight and understanding of the most complex issues facing the society and was looking forward to the future.
During final battle with lung cancer she felt it was important to maintain and nurture family relationships just as she always had. Because of this she refused medications that may have lessened her ability to do so. This made her personal fight against illness more difficult, but also made it easier for all those who loved and relied on her for a quick quip, a strong hug, or game of 'let's pretend'. To the end she stayed true to herself and her entire family. Her presence still provides guidance and support to all family survivors, decisions are now being made based on "what would Mother do". She will be greatly missed.
Darlene was preceded in death by parents Darvin and Florence Wilson, sister Dalene, father and mother-in-law Charles and Margaret McElroy, daughter-in-law Karen Mooney McElroy, brothers-in-law Charles McElroy and Fred Bond.
She is survived by sons Michael ('70) of Los Angeles, Gregory ('71) of Seattle, Matthew ('74) of Richland, David of Kenmore, daughters Judith Forney and husband Victor of Indian Beach, FL, Susan McElroy of Destin, FL, Nancy McElroy and husband Michael Frazier of Denver, CO and nine grandchildren.
She is also survived by sisters Bonnie Gallegos of Wheat Ridge, CO and Vonna Bond of Kennewick and brother Roger Wilson of Tri-Cities.
Private services will be held for immediate family at the Sunset Memorial Gardens Event Center with burial at Sunset Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society (Designate your gift to fight Lung Cancer) or donate to a charity of your choice.