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Darlene "Dar" Mary (Hughes) Fehrenbach, a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on September 21, 2012 following several years of health challenges and has now found eternal peace.
Darlene was born August 26th, 1932 in Stratford, WI, the 2nd child of nine to Glenn and Helen (Alt) Hughes. She attended St. John's Primary and Middle School, and graduated from Marshfield Senior High School in 1950. Dar's beauty inside and out shone ever bright, and she was recognized for it too - she was a finalist for the prestigious Alice in Dairyland 1952!
Darlene married her childhood sweetheart Neal Roger Fehrenbach on September 5th, 1953 at St. John's Catholic Church in Marshfield. Darlene wore a beautiful traditional gown and held a pillow muff wrapped with a rosary of fresh red roses, a tribune to their strong faith and her love of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Darlene's entire life was centered on her family and helping to love and support them along their journeys, teaching above all else to laugh with and love each other. Special memories include large (and seldom quiet!) family gatherings with all 8 children, their spouses, 20 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren, her parents, 8 siblings, hundreds of cousins, nieces, nephews and other family and friends. In particular, Dar drew much joy from cooking special family recipes for her family including real chili, fried chicken, spare ribs, beef/pork roast, pea soup, boiled dinner, cinnamon rolls, homemade bread made with bacon grease (and toast with lots of butter!), keeping a fully stocked snack drawer (a special hit with the grandchildren and the Schwalbach twins!), and of course making peanut butter and molasses cookies (that neighbors and friends were known to "steal" from the fridge!). She also took special joy in hosting the never-ending pool parties where there seemed no less than ten of us in the pool laughing, sharing stories, and of course catching up on each other's lives.
Over the years she also extensively supported her husband Neal in his work leading American Family Insurance District 9 in Southeastern Wisconsin for which he and his agents will be forever grateful. Through over 30 years with American Family, and on their own with family and friends, Darlene and Neal traveled extensively. Highlights included visiting various families for the weekend in Madison, Green Bay, Sheboygan, Milwaukee, Indiana, Minneapolis, and Marshfield, and the family trips to Minoqua and Palm Springs with Jean and family, Florida with Kay and family, and Hawaii with Mike and family. All agree that the favorite, with her husband and several "pure Irish" siblings and their spouses, was to her homeland, Ireland. She marveled at the rolling green hills, chatted with the locals, taught them how to make a "real grilled cheese sandwich" and of course leaned upside down to kiss the Blarney Stone.
She was very involved in Holy Name School and Church, serving as President of Holy Name Home and School, developing a close personal friendship with Monsignor Anthony "Tony" Knackert, organizing the famous annual Holy Name Christmas Eve Pageant, and chaperoning and hosting several "Sunshine Singer" Events. Dar also supported her 8 children's various activities at Sheboygan South and North High School including never missing a sporting or club event and hosting several homecoming floats. Later in life Dar found special meaning and a way to make new and connect with old friends in her role as a hostess at the Interstate Plaza Restaurant. She carried on her father's love of cribbage, enjoying many games with her family, constantly holding the upper hand and achieving the rare perfect hand not just once - a feat not met by most in their lifetime - but twice!
Survived with love by her husband Neal of Sheboygan; children Rae (Bob) Gilbertson, Kay (Al) Kuznacic, Patricia (Randy) Gries, Wayne (Dana Ballweg), Michael, Jean (Jim) Gallimore and Neal William (Lee Anderson); grandchildren Joe Gilbertson, Julie Gilbertson, Kim (Kuznacic) Barts, Brian (Nichole Ranta) Kuznacic, Kyle (Jackie Lindberg) Kuznacic, Elizabeth Gries, Ben Gries, Ryan Gries, Nick (Tianna Posey), Ann (Brian Martin) Gries, Kristin (Jeff Wendt) Fehrenbach, Noah (Andrea) Fehrenbach, Talia Fehrenbach, Katelin (Paul Gallimore), Jake Fehrenbach, Shannon Fehrenbach, Hallie Fehrenbach, Jaymeson Gallimore, Alex Gallimore (Stephanie Schwoerer), and Drew Gallimore; great-grandchildren Makenna, Jack, Abby, Luke, Ella, Konnrad, Madeline, Mikayla, Marlow, Rayne, Kennedy, Rowyn, Tatum, Maysa, Mia and Baby Gallimore; 75 nieces and nephews, countless other relatives, loved ones and friends.
She was preceded in passing most recently by her son Jim on Monday, September 10th, 2012; parents Glenn and Helen, brothers Pat and Mike ("Raggedy Andy") Hughes, daughter-in-law Tanja Thiel Fehrenbach, and great-grandson Brady Johnson.
Deepest appreciation to the staff of Harvest Home in Howards Grove and Grace Hospice who made Dar's passing as peaceful and comfortable as possible.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated for Dar on Monday, September 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Sheboygan. Visitation will begin at 11:00 am until Mass begins. The Reverend Jim Connell will be the celebrant.
A memorial fund has been established in her name.
Please visit www.zimmerfuneralhome.com to send email condolences.
Published in Sheboygan Press from Sept. 22 to Sept. 23, 2012