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Darlene's Story

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Darlene Johnson, age 81 (formerly of Ottumwa, Iowa) went to be with her Savior, Jesus Christ, at 12:40 PM on January 20, 2018. Her Celebration of Life was held on January 27th at the VFW in Lemon Grove, California. Her body was cremated and given to the family. Please enjoy this Eulogy written by her son, Daniel Guffey, III.

On January 16, 1937, the sun burned a little bit brighter than it had the day before. On that day, Darlene Maxine Hucks was born. The details of her childhood are shared by a rare few. Not many of her friends and family who were around then, are still with us to share insights into her early life. She was the 3rd of 10 children born to Orville & Maxine Hucks in Ottumwa, Iowa. We do know that she lost her father, when she was only 9 years old.

She began working at the tender age of 13 to help her mother make ends meet and as an older sibling, she took on a parental role to help her siblings cope with the loss of their father. This type of traumatic event could break you. Not Darlene. She rose above the grief and chaos of losing a parent and grew into womanhood with a sharp mind, keen sense of justice, and an endearing heart.

She married Daniel Guffey, Jr. in 1954 and began a family of her own, bearing 8 children between 1955 and 1970. Darlene often worked two jobs to help her husband support their family. When that wasn't enough, they began a janitorial service business on evenings and weekends. Many people worked hard to support their families, but what set Darlene apart from many, was her determination to keep the family safe and whole.

When her husband was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in May of 1977, Darlene battled his disease with him while still working and maintain the household. She cared for her dying husband as he wasted away to 65 pounds and finally passed.

Through it all, she remained strong for her family and held them together. Darlene never allowed the devastation she felt at the loss to stop her from raising her family, the youngest only seven years old at the time. The family survived intact, because she wouldn't tolerate anything less.

To find a soul mate in this world is rare, but Darlene found two. She mover her life forward and married Jim Johnson (Butch). They were married 39 years and raised four children left at home to adulthood, mostly in San Diego, California. She loved music and she spent her later years watching her granddaughters, listening to country music and enjoying her family and friends. Every day of her life, she brought love, order, common sense, courage, strength, and compassion to all those around her.

She was strong for her family once again 2 years ago almost to the day, when her eldest daughter Vickie died from the same tragic illness that befell her first husband. She always eagerly embraced her children's successes and failures, with equal parts love and understanding. Her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were the light of her life, and she loved and defended them, no matter the situation, or the repercussions.

For those of us who knew her, her passing on January 20, 2018, just four days after her 81st birthday, the light still burns brightly. The sun did not burn less brightly as she passed. It burned more brightly than ever. Those of us she left behind carry her glow in our hearts. The world is a better place because she was, and still is, a part of it.

Speaking for her children, we know the most powerful word, the most elegant word, the happiest word in the English language: MOM

She is survived by her husband, Jim Johnson of San Diego, California, her daughters DeAnna Perryman Hepker of Ottumwa, Iowa, Becky McSparen of Eaton Rapids, Michigan, Brenda Hare of Ottumwa, Iowa, Susan Guffey of Ottumwa, Iowa, Danielle Walker of Fort Worth, Texas, her sons, Daniel Guffey Jr., III of Corcoran, California and David Guffey of Ottumwa, Iowa, 12 Grandchildren, 15 Great Grandchildren, her brothers Mickey Hucks Sr., of Ottumwa, Iowa, and Denny Hucks, of Gillette, Wyoming and her sister, Linda Clemons of Las Vegas, NV.
Published on February 7, 2018
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