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.