Darlene Roberta (Olson) Peterson was born on December 8, 1930 and died peacefully on January 1, 2021 at BVRMC (non-covid related).
Funeral services will take place Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Albert City where masks and social distancing will be required. To watch the live stream, use the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88466597682?pwd=NVM2emZ3TWRGMDRlNkFsblJCMUVvdz09 and enter the password: funeral. Burial will be in the Fairfield Township Cemetery in Albert City. Visitation will take place Tuesday, January 5, 2021 from 5-7:00 p.m. at the CHURCH in Albert City. The Sliefert Funeral Home in Albert City is in charge of the arrangements.
Darlene was born to Leslie Clifford Olson and Helen Adeline Chindlund Olson in Marathon, Iowa. Darlene was baptized into the Methodist Church and became an active member of the church in Marathon. In 1949, she graduated from Marathon Consolidated School. She attended Swedish Hospital of Nursing, graduating in 1952. Darlene began her career as a surgical nurse at Buena Vista Hospital in Storm Lake.
On February 27, 1955, Darlene married Donald Eugene Peterson and became a farmer’s wife. She joined Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Albert City and was an active member. To this union were born three children: Deborah, Jennifer, and Marcia.
Darlene lived a blessed life, but it also was affected by multiple medical challenges. While she was around 7 years old, her aunt Gladys noticed Darlene limping on her way to school. After consulting with an Iowa City doctor, she was diagnosed with Leggs Perthes disease. A cast was put on one leg. Then after playing baseball with the cast on, she was additionally confined by placing connected casts on both legs. Thus, she was restricted in all movement unless being pulled by others in a little red wagon. Her education, during this time, consisted of reading books. In those days, in-home instruction didn’t exist. However, she was so advanced with her skills, that while she missed 2 years of school, the school only held her back one year. Throughout her life she walked with a limp as one leg ended up shorter than the other. But it did not stop her from being active. This disease led to multiple hip surgeries as well as other joint replacement surgeries as well as open heart surgery. Each time, Darlene fought back to health to live a full life.
After nursing school and while Darlene was working in the Buena Vista Hospital, Don and Darlene met while socializing at the Cobblestone. While not necessarily love at first sight, it was very close. Don and Darlene had their first date on Labor Day, Sept. 1. The first date was, by their accounts, not great, but continued with a second and more dates. Don had dinner with Darlene’s parents for Thanksgiving; however, Darlene had not met Don’s parents when he proposed to Darlene in early December. They married just a short few months later on Feb. 27th. They were together 66 years. It was a love of the best kind.
In 1965, Darlene returned to work as a surgical supervisor at the Pocahontas Hospital which was just opening as she started working there. Then for a short time, she moved to a new position and organization, OEO, that required her to travel to multiple counties. This required too much travel and too much time away from family. So in subsequent years, she served as In-Service Director at the Buena Vista County Hospital. Finally, Darlene finished her nursing career as the Nurse Administrator for the Buena Vista County Health Department. She served the people of Buena Vista county for 15 years. In recognition for her contributions to Public Health, Darlene was awarded the 1st Thelma Luther award for excellence in Public Health Nursing. She was also awarded a Governor’s Recognition award for her nursing services. While retiring in 1990, Darlene was a lifelong nurse who was extremely proud of her career and the services she provided.
Darlene did all this work outside the home but was still able to able to guide 3 girls through into their adulthoods. Darlene was actively involved in her daughters’ lives. She attended multiple school functions with them as well as accompanying each on special trips to start their lives.
Don and Darlene were together for 66 years and remained totally devoted to each other. Don provided extraordinary care for Darlene for her entire life, but he became a full time caregiver, giving the gift of the past 7 months and Christmas to her family. Donald’s response to the challenge was “I have nothing more important to do than to care for her as long as possible.”
Darlene loved people and especially loved her people. An example of her personality was demonstrated during her time at Pocahontas Hospital. While working there, a number of employees became such good friends that they visited the farm almost every week. They couldn’t get enough of this lady. She and Don also played cards on Fridays with a special couple and hosted multiple elaborate parties at the farm. She maintained many long-term friendships.
Preceding her in death were her parents Cliff and Helen Olson, sister: Mavis Stoner, and brother Daryl Olson.
Darlene is survived by her husband Donald Peterson of Albert City, Deborah Peterson of Gainesville, TX, Jennifer (Bill) Foster of Norwalk, and Marcia (Todd) Kay of Albert City. “Petey” leaves behind four grandchildren: Brandon (Sami) Kay, Taryn (Isaak) Unger, Sydney Kay, and Nick Foster as well as great grandchildren Aubrey and Bentley Unger and Dax Kay. Her children were her life, and they returned her love for them.
She is also survived by her brother Dennis Olson of Anoka, MN.
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