Darlene Wheeldon was born May 18, 1950 in Williams Lake to Ray and Dora Curtis.
She was the youngest of 12 children and the caretaker of all.
Darlene spent a lot of time in the kitchen with her mom and inherited the fabulous gift of baking and cooking.
The Curtis clan grew up on the corner of Third Avenue and Barnard Street.
But as the song goes: “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot!”
In 1971 Darlene married Gordie Wheeldon.
They met while Darlene cooked in the camp that Gordie worked at.
Darlene was in her element being at home while they started their family.
Their first daughter, Patty, was born in 1971, followed by Dora-Lee in 1973.
Darlene loved her daughters and she was very active in school events, sports and driving them to wherever they needed to go.
Both Darlene and Gordie wanted their kids to be involved in the community and encouraged them to join activities.
Gordie coached the girls’ baseball while Darlene was their biggest fan!
Darlene loved all kids … all people.
When it came to family, she never missed a birthday or a special occasion.
She always had time for a conversation, an encouraging word or a ready ear.
Family was a big part of who Darlene was.
She was all about family and her family extended well beyond Gordie and her girls. She was a caretaker to her brothers, sisters and mom and dad.
She took care of people, and did so without hesitation.
She was everyone’s rock and the “go to” person who could be counted on at anytime for anything. Together Darlene and Gordie created a home that always had an open door for anyone.
They welcomed everybody and enjoyed having people stay and were proud of their community and the history of the Cariboo. They were great tour guides and would take you for a drive around the countryside pointing out different sites and telling some very interesting stories.
In 2006 Darlene welcomed her first granddaughter, Makena, followed by another granddaughter, Ashton, in 2008.
These girls were Darlene’s world and she was so very proud of them. She taught them how to swim, and the trio was very well loved at the local swimming pool. She never went longer than two days without seeing them.
Makena and Ashton loved their “Wawa” so, so much and the feeling was mutual. A relationship this strong between a grandma and granddaughters is extra special, and they are missing her very much.
Darlene had a morning routine… . She would get up at about 5 a.m. and would normally bake something and get dinner prepared for later on in the day.
She would call Patty at about 5:45 a.m. and they would have their morning chat.
She would get her breakfast ready and then the phone would ring about 7:15 a.m. and it would be Dora-Lee calling for their morning chat.
She would continue with her morning calls to Bev and Elsie.
Then she would get ready to go to town with her baking or buns as she was always dropping in to visit someone and making sure everyone was all right.
Darlene was very active in the community.
She was a lifetime member with the Legion Ladies Auxiliary, a regular at the swimming pool and an active participant for bake sales, fundraisers etc. with her amazing baking. She will be missed by her large circle of friends and per passing is a loss to both the town and the community at large.
She would pick Makena up from school and take the girls to the park and for ice cream.
Every year Darlene, Patty, Dora-Lee, Makena and Ashton would meet for a girls’ weekend. These times will be missed immensely. Only three weeks before her passing, the family spent an incredible week in Disneyland.
Darlene loved seeing the magic in Makena’s and Ashton’s eyes.
She went on all the rides and soaked up all the amazement and wonder through her granddaughters’ experience.
Darlene passed away suddenly on May 23, 2012. Darlene is survived by her husband Gordie, daughters Patty, Dora-Lee (Randy) and granddaughters Makena and Ashton.
The family would like to thank the ambulance staff and the staff at Cariboo Memorial Hospital. Special thanks to Dan Smith for officiating the beautiful service and a huge thank you to all of the family and friends who helped with flowers and food and support.