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Darlene I. Bergquist, 76

Darlene Inzea Bergquist, age 76, of Dassel, died Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011, at her home, after a short battle with bone marrow cancer.

Darlene Faust Firkus was born Sept. 12, 1935, attended grade school at Jefferson in St. Paul, and graduated from Monroe High School in 1953.

She dedicated most of her life to taking care of children and the elderly, and provided a loving and nurturing daycare for 32 years to many, many children, who still call her Me-Ma today.

Actively involved in her children’s lives and the community, Darlene served six years as PTA president, seven years as a Girl Scout leader, seven years as Cub Scout leader, many years as a Salvation Army Sun Beam leader and Sunday school teacher, four years as Parent-Band president, and 20-plus years as fundraiser chairman for St. Paul Public schools.

Darlene married Lail D. Bergquist in 1990 at the Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Dassel. In the first years of their marriage, Darlene spent many hours working the farm with Lail, including milking cows and harvesting hay. Darlene and Lail also worked very hard to improve and grow their Lakewood Campground business.

Formerly trained in the home-health aide care program, Darlene provided five years of specialized care to the elderly.

Her faith in God and His promise of eternal life played a critical role in her life and how she chose to live.

She was known for her love of cooking, especially her tacos; for entertaining, and for delivering awesome food and comfort to the sick and/or dying. Darlene also loved to make extravagant Christmas cookie boxes for gifts every year.

She leaves behind a multitude of family and friends who loved and adored her.

Darlene was preceded in death by her parents, Jess and Vetress Faust.

She is survived by her loving husband of 21 years, Lail D. Bergquist; her children, Rick (RaeLynn), Tammy (Gonzalo) Medina, all of Woodbury, Sue (Tim) Gilbertson of St. Paul, Nancy (Dave) Pettit of St. Louis Park, Dave (Tina) Firkus of Woodbury, Tim (Laura) Bergquist of Wolsey, SD, and Tom (Amy) Bergquist of Wadena; grandchildren Tara Firkus Welch, Jodi Firkus (Jason) Houge, Jason Firkus, Kevin Firkus, Kara-Mia (Rick) Appleton, Michael Medina, Erik and Jack Gilbertson, Hunter and Carter Pettit, Zach Firkus, Brent, Brianna, Brandon, Brittany, Teddy, Gus and Abe Bergquist; and great-grandchildren Alexa, Logan, Alizia, and Lucas Welch, Kennedy, Simon and Bauer Houge, and Grace and Joy Appleton.

Darlene is also survived by her brothers, Buford (Charene) Faust, Dan (Sheryl) Faust, and Denny Faust; and a sister, Jessie (Don) Kiser.

Her funeral service was Saturday, Oct. 22 at 11 a.m. at the Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Dassel with the Revs. Steven Olson and John Peterson officiating. Private interment followed at the Dassel Cemetery.

Visitation was Friday, Oct. 21 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Johnson Funeral Home in Dassel, and continued Saturday with a one- hour visitation prior to the service at the church.

The Johnson Funeral Home in Dassel handled the arrangements.