Darlene Sewell, 85, of Oelwein passed away Saturday May 1, 2021 at Oelwein Health Care Center. Private funeral services will be held at the Geilenfeld-Buehner Funeral Home in Oelwein. Interment will be in Floral Hills Memorial Gardens at Hazleton. The memorial fund will be directed to the staff of Oelwein Health Care Center-they are angels on Earth.
Darlene was born in Strawberry Point on April 8, 1936, the third child of Walter and Velma (Jenks) Stone. She grew up in rural Clayton and Delaware counties. She attended rural schools near Strawberry Point. Growing up with a farm background, Darlene was her dad’s main chore girl and loved it-from field work to milking cows. At age 17, she fell in love with Kenneth Curtis Sewell from Oelwein and were married on May 31, 1953. They were together for 57 years.
Darlene means “feisty” and she lived up to that description many times over the years; from dressing up like an old homeless guy as a joke to scare her daughter Beckie one Halloween to once a year changing something different in the house when Ken went to his 2-week camp in Minnesota, just to see his reaction.
Darlene kept busy with homemaking and their children Rebecca, James and Ricky Allen. She was an awesome mom, great cook and her baking always kept family and friends coming to her table. She fed two blocks of 4th Avenue S.E. after the tornado in Oelwein, having the only stove that still worked.
When Ken retired, they would take off in their “Great Pumpkin”, an orange Ford Pickup with a camper, and find places to fish. Ken and Darlene managed the West Haven Senior Living for four years. No matter where they lived, Darlene had beautiful flowers and bird feeders. She cooked at the Knights of Columbus and the Moose Lodge.
Darlene took care of Ken through Alzheimer’s until she could not for her own health’s sake, never telling anyone how trying it was. Darlene lost Ken in 2010 and was lost without her partner. It took four major surgeries to keep her with her family.
Darlene was a Chicago Cubs fan, with a room of Cubs memorabilia. She created “Naughty Babies”, each with a birth certificate. Before Ken’s decline they spent each morning drinking coffee and playing Cribbage and other card games. She requested a double deck of cards go with her so she and Ken could play again.
Two cruel things that happened in the last year and a half that led to Darlene’s decline were dementia leading to her needing nursing home care to stay safe and COVID-19 leading to isolation from her family and she grew more alone. Darlene is no longer lost and alone. She is with Ken again and all those she has lost over the years.
Left to celebrate Darlene’s life are her children: Beckie (Douglas) Child of Aurora, Jim Sewell of Marshalltown and Rick (Krysta) Sewell of Aurora; her grandchildren that she said were the highlight of her life: Chris (Helene) Child, Liz (Bill McGeary) Child, Sara (Timothy) Connolly, Amanda (Chad) Berg, Curtis (Autumn) Sewell, Kimberly (Matt Swanson) Sewell, Jessica (Josh) Smith, Kaylee (Chris) Harding, Jaimie (Colton) Manchester and Kenda (Ryan Medd) Sewell; her 25 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren she said were “blessed bonuses”.