Darleen Lewicke, 73, beloved wife of Edwin Lewicke for 44 years, died suddenly on May 23, 2014. Darleen was born in Escanaba, Michigan, on June 2, 1940, the last of the 13 children of Edna and Robert Rouse. After graduating from Holy Name Catholic High School, Darleen moved to Chicago, where she became a reservationist for TWA. While at a ski club party, Darleen met Ed, and six months later they married. A few years later, Darleen was transferred to San Francisco and shortly thereafter American Airlines acquired TWA. In addition to working, camping in their VW camper, and traveling the world, Darleen and Ed enjoyed sailing and entertaining on their boat moored at Pier 39 in San Francisco and where Ed was a commodore at the North Point Yacht Club.
When they retired in 1989, Darleen and Ed moved to Sugarmill Woods in Homosassa, Florida and have lived there ever since. Darleen enjoyed reading and playing cards and mahjong with her friends and neighbors. She especially loved decorating lavishly for all of the holidays and took great joy in filling every tabletop, chandelier, doorway, window, nook, and cranny with colorful lights, streamers, bows, ornaments, baubles, and bangles, and cleverly costuming her pink flamingoes, stuffed bears, and real cats. And who but Darleen would think of enlisting help from her niece Christine to drag her old blue Vespa scooter from the garage to display on the driveway, wiring onto the Vespa seat a skeleton hunched over with hands on the grips and feet on the pegs, then decking it out with flashing reflective eyes; long flowing ribbons affixed to the handgrips and blowing in the wind; and many strings of mini-lights circling the wheels and framing the scooter-orange and white for Halloween; red, white, and green for Christmas; and red, white, and blue for July 4th.
Every year Darleen also looked forward to her lighting ceremony to usher in the holiday season-a tradition she kept up in Sugarmill Woods by inviting neighbors to simultaneously switch on their outdoor Christmas lights and meet in the street to share hors d'oeuvres and sip champagne as they toasted each other-their own version of the tree lighting ceremony of New York City. To those who knew and loved her, Darleen's sense of wonder, joy, and fun made not only the seasons sparkle but also every day, for she carried that spark within her and lit up all their lives. In their memories, her light will forever shine brightly.
Darleen was preceded in death by her parents, Edna and Robert Rouse of Pine Ridge, Michigan; her sisters, Roberta Stevens, Patricia Peterson, and Elaine Duncan; and by her brother, Gerald Rouse. She is survived by her husband, Edwin; sisters, Joy Wessels of Port Richey, Florida, Ruth Sheffler of Sterling, Illinois, Phyllis Trinka of Delafield, Wisconsin, and Ethel Pepin of Portage, Wisconsin; and her brothers, Vincent Rouse of Soulsbyville, California and Clayton Rouse of Scottsdale, Arizona. She is also survived by many nephews and nieces, among them Christine Peterson of Tallahassee, to whom she was like a beloved sister. She will also be sorely missed by her three cats, Holly, Kally, and Lucy.
A memorial service celebrating Darleen's life will be at the Wilder Funeral Home, 4890 South Suncoast Boulevard, Homosassa, 11 a.m. Friday, May 30, 2014. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Salvation Army. Darleen's register book is online at www.wilderfuneral.com.