Darlene Jane Blackman was born in Grand Island, Neb., on Jan. 30, 1931. Her parents were Burdett C. Knowles and Opal G. Knowles, formerly Opal Morris. Darlene went to be with her husband Duane, and her Lord, on Dec. 2, 2010.
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Working for the railroad, Dar's father moved his family to Beiber, Calif., in 1939. In this small town, she and her brother Dennis spent two years of close companionship. The family then moved to Klamath Falls, where she graduated from Klamath Union High School in 1948.
Darlene first met her life's love and partner Duane Blackman while ice skating on Clark's Pond when she asked him to tighten her skate strings. They met again at a dance at the Merrill Grange Hall and a year later she accepted an engagement ring at a local drive-in. Darlene and Duane were married on her 18th birthday in January 1948.
When first married, Dar worked as a stenographer for the city of Klamath Falls, but her true joys came later. Dar was an avid lover of horses. For several years, she was secretary of the Klamath Basin Roundup Association and she loved to jackpot barrel race. In addition, Dar and Duane were longtime members of the Klamath County Sheriff's Posse. Her children fondly remember family vacations trail riding in the wilderness.
Dar sang beautifully. She was a member of Mt. Laki Church's choir as well as Melody Mothers and the Melodians. When younger, she sang with a band called The Down Beats, traveling to resorts in California.
Dar was athletic, participating in bowling, tennis, snowmobiling, and golfing. She and Duane traveled the United States in their RV, golfing at every opportunity. Her family soon learned to keep up or get out of her way. Upon retirement, Dar and Duane purchased a home in Cathedral City, Calif., where they happily spent their winters. Together, they enjoyed cruises, especially through the Panama Canal.
Dar and her high school girlfriends formed a club called the Gopher Girls and, with love and laughter, they maintained this group, meeting every year they could at Clear Lake, Calif.
Her children will miss her. They are Rod and Ginny Blackman, Keith and Becky Blackman, and Cindy Blackman-Kellstrom. She is also survived by her brother Dennis Knowles and his wife Ginger of John Day, Ore., and Duane's sister Wilma Burleigh of Seattle, Wash. Her smile and silly songs will be missed by her eight grandchildren, many great-grandchildren, and one new great-great-granddaughter.
She was preceded in death by Duane, her husband of 60 years, and by a grandson, Travis.
At her request, a graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11 at Mt. Laki Cemetery. Friends and family will celebrate her life at the Blackman Farms home on Reeder Road immediately following the service.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, please donate in Dar's name to Klamath Hospice or Klamath Humane Society.
The Blackman family sends love to her many friends who shared her life.
Davenport's Chapel of the Good Shepherd, directors, now at 2680 Memorial Drive, Klamath Falls, Ore., 541-883-3458, is in charge of the arrangements.
Davenport's Chapel of the Good Shepherd
2680 Memorial Drive
Klamath Falls, OR 97601
Published in Herald And News on Dec. 7, 2010