Darlene Marking, 70

Darlene Marie Marking, 70, of Dassel, MN, passed away at home Aug. 29, 2022, with her devoted, loving husband at her side.

She suffered a stroke in April and died from complications that followed.

A private family service will take place at the Johnson Funeral Home in Dassel, with the interment at the Swan Lake Cemetery in rural Dassel.

Darlene was born Nov. 17, 1951, to Pearl and David Wallenta, of Lake Lillian, MN. She was the oldest of three brothers and one sister.

She graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Bird Island, MN, in 1969. She went on to graduate from cosmetology school in Willmar, MN.

Darlene worked for many years as a cosmetologist, and also worked for Jennie-O Turkey for 37 years in Willmar.

Dar funded many trips with her brothers and sister, and was a blast to have along. She enjoyed visiting relatives from afar. She traveled to many destinations including to Canada, Vancouver, and California. One of her favorite memories was enjoying a nice dinner in San Francisco, and then a trip over the Golden Gate Bridge in a limo.

Darlene enjoyed a lot of family fun, had a quick wit, and was quick to laugh, often laughing so hard she would cry. She spent many weekends at the farm visiting and helping with whatever needed to be done.

She was a hard worker in every sense of the word – whether it was washing dishes at Athmann’s Inn or the Bird Island Ballroom, pulling weeds in the bean fields, or any overtime hours available at work.

If you went anywhere with Dar, she always knew everyone, and everyone knew her. She would always greet you with a great big smile. And, somehow, she also knew every make and model of every car on the road, and had a memory like a steel trap.

She met Ernest Marking in 1994 through a personal ad in the newspaper. She thought she would get one free date out of the deal, but instead she met the love of her life.

They dated for two years, and were married May 18, 1996, and enjoyed 26 years of marriage living on Ernie’s family farm near Dassel. Darlene continued to work in Willmar, but had never learned to drive, so while they were dating, Ernie taught her.

Dar and Ernie enjoyed many activities together in those 26 years. They went to local craft fairs, rodeos, car races, Forest City Threshing Days, and fish frys. They also attended the Minnesota State Fair nearly every year.

As mobility challenges came her way, Darlene never complained, instead using a walker, wheelchair, or scooter to continue these activities with Ernie. They created wonderful memories at all of these events, and connected with people everywhere they went, as Darlene could talk to anyone.

Darlene’s last days were spent at home in the loving and patient care of her husband and the Ecumen Hospice Care workers from Litchfield, MN, and were sustained through Lutheran Social Services with Meals On Wheels. The family thanks both of these associations for their time and the services they provide in times of great need.

Darlene will be greatly missed by her devoted husband, Ernie of Dassel; her  loving mother, Pearl of Lake Lillian; her family members, Dan (Diane) Wallenta of Marine on St. Croix, MN; Deb (Jay) Haley of Grand Forks, ND; Dean (Amy) Wallenta of Lakeville, MN; and Dennis (Arliss) Wallenta of Buffalo, MN; 13 nephews and nieces, Amy (Dave) Novak, Brian (Nikki) Wallenta, Michael Haley, Angela (JC) Strang, John (Leandra) Haley, Adam (Bailey) Wallenta, Kendell (Michael) Hooker, Jaden, Lucas, and Brooke Wallenta, Hannah, Alyssa, and Karina Wallenta; and her two great-nephews and two great-nieces.

Darlene was preceded in death by her father, David Wallenta; her father-in-law, Philip Marking; and her mother-in-law, Erma Marking.

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