Darlene Shaw, 89
Wed, 11/17/2021 - 1:10pm admin
Sept. 17, 1932 —
Nov. 7, 2021
CRESCO - Darlene Shaw, age 89, of Cresco, Iowa passed away at Evans Memorial Home in Cresco on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021 at First Lutheran Church in Cresco at 11 a.m. Friends may call at Lindstrom Funeral Home in Cresco from 4-6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, and also one hour prior to services at the church. Burial will be at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Cresco.
Darlene Irene Vik was born on Sept. 17, 1932 in Clarkfield, Minn., the first child of Reuben and Hallie (Sharkey) Vik. She grew up on a working farm, the daughter of a farmer and a nurse. Both sets of grandparents and many aunts, uncles and cousins lived nearby, giving her the gift of a large extended family.
As the oldest of five children, with a mother who worked outside the home, Darlene learned to cook, bake and sew. In fact, she went to the Minnesota State Fair with sewing projects, to show a prize hog, and to play clarinet with her 4-H band. She also played clarinet with the Clarkfield High School Band, took piano lessons and sang in choir. While hog-raising didn’t wind up becoming a lifelong passion, sewing and music would both always be important parts of Darlene’s world.
The Lutheran Church was integral to her family, and she remained a faithful and regular churchgoer all her life. She was baptized and confirmed at Clarkfield Lutheran Church, and throughout her life she contributed to her church communities by singing in and directing choirs, teaching Sunday School, organizing Christmas programs, playing organ and participating in ALCW Circles.
In order to follow in her mother’s footsteps, Darlene put herself through Fairview Nursing School by cleaning houses and working as a nurse’s aide. She worked in Clarkfield Hospital for several years and did private duty nursing off and on. She “paid it forward” by helping to pay for her sister, Hallie’s, schooling.
On Aug. 23, 1953, she married Harold Francis Harris, a history teacher and basketball coach in Clarkfield. He became a school superintendent, so they moved to progressively larger communities as his career grew — from Cylinder, Iowa to Ellendale, Minn. to Annandale, Minn. and finally to Cresco.
They had four children, Linda, Karen, Claude and Sonja. In 1968, Harold was killed during a fishing trip, leaving Darlene the sole caregiver for the family. A few months later, her father died. Her faith sustained her during this difficult time, and her generous spirit seemed to emerge even more strongly.
On April 11, 1970, she married David Strohbeen Shaw, a widower with three small children, Nancy, Steve and Michael, ages 11 to three. He was her neighbor and dentist, and she had helped to care for his wife, Joan, during her terminal illness.
They expanded the house on Crescent Drive and proceeded to take on the gargantuan task of merging the families and raising seven children.
In 1976, Claude was killed in a motor vehicle accident. She again handled a heavy loss with grace and wisdom.
In 1979, they welcomed an exchange student from Turin, Italy into their home. Mimma Lumia became an adopted daughter, and Dave and Darlene became friends with her family, attended her wedding, and followed her children’s lives. Visits from Italy were as much fun as visits to Italy.
When the couple’s children married and had children of their own, Darlene loved visiting them as they scattered around the country. When Dave’s dental practice didn’t allow him to travel, she would go by herself. She was a loving, devoted and proud grandmother.
Darlene was the sports reporter on her high school paper, and she retained a keen interest in sports her whole life. When Harold was coaching basketball, she scouted opposing teams and hosted team parties. She and Harold supported their local school teams wherever they lived and faithfully attended the Minnesota State Basketball Tournament every year.
Dave had played football, basketball and baseball in high school and shared her interest in local, college and professional sports. She and Dave had season tickets to the University of Iowa football and basketball games, and he joined her at the Minnesota State Basketball Tournaments.
In general, Darlene watched sports and did not participate as a player, but, to the astonishment of her children, she did learn to downhill ski in her forties — albeit slowly and carefully. She also learned to swim at the age of 66 (despite her fear of water) and was able to take water exercise classes and enjoy snorkeling.
She was a talented bridge player, and she and Dave made a formidable team, consistently beating the bridge teacher on their Panama Canal cruise. Though married to two golfers, she was not a golfer herself, but she enjoyed Ladies Night at the Cresco Country Club, both because of the card games and because it let her connect with her friends.
Darlene was a consummate hostess, able to feed an army at the drop of a hat. There was always room for one more at her table, and she enjoyed hosting dinner parties, large family reunions, bridge parties and women’s clubs.
Dave brought an artist’s eye and a taste for beauty to the marriage. Together, they frequented art shows and estate sales and filled their home with beautiful objects, displaying works by family, local artists and artists from around the world.
Darlene’s first trip abroad with Dave was as chaperones to the Crestwood High School Band when it toured Europe in 1972. They were able to travel regularly in retirement, and Dar loved her trips to Hawaii, Florida, China, Thailand, Europe, Mexico, Panama, Australia and New Zealand. She was proud of her Norwegian and Irish heritage, making visits to those countries especially meaningful.
When she traveled by air, she always seemed to strike up a friendship with her seat partner, mostly because she was such a good listener. She could and would tell all about the remarkable person who’d shared a few hours with her.
Darlene had always sewn clothes for herself, including her wedding gown, and for her children. Over time, she added tailoring, knitting and embroidery to her skill set. In the last 25 years of her life, she became a quilter and was a prolific producer of exceptional works. Dave would help her choose patterns and material, and she made quilts for graduations, weddings, holidays or just because she wanted a challenge or to give a gift.
Darlene loved music, and while not all pianists can become organists, she managed the transition to the point that, when gifted with lessons with Dr. Kuhlman at Luther, he told her, “You don’t need lessons. You are already a fine church organist.” She would go up to church to practice for an hour and not return home until three hours later because she enjoyed playing so much.
She kept in touch with a wide circle of family and friends, both old and new acquaintances. She loved her high school reunions, nursing school reunions and cousin reunions.
After a stroke in April 2019, Darlene required constant care, which was devotedly provided by husband, Dave. Through it all, she remained her sweet, loving self and always could be counted on to follow social niceties and make you feel welcome.
Darlene is survived by her husband, David; children, Linda (Mark Jacobs), Karen (Ted Susu-Mago), Nancy (Larry Nissen), David Steven (Pat Reliford), Sonja (Nute Mullings) and Michael (Laura Miller); 14 grandchildren; brothers-in-law, John Shaw, Jacob Kemen and Ronald Anderson; sisters-in-law, Ruth (Skelly) Shaw and Yvonne (Dippold) Vik; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Reuben and Hallie; her first husband, Harold; her son, Claude; her brother, Darrell; her sisters, Hallie, Wilma and Sonja; and one sister, Roseann, who died at birth
The family asks that memorials be sent to Howard County Hospice, the Cresco Public Library Foundation or Cresco City Parks and Recreation directed to the Fitness Center.