Darleen Sickert, 86, departed her earthly life on Oct. 13, at Iowa Health Hospice - Taylor House in Des Moines. Visitation will be 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, at Windsor Heights Lutheran Church in Des Moines. Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 19 at the church. Graveside services will be held noon Saturday, Oct. 20 at Harlington Cemetery in Waverly. Ms. Sickert was preceded in death by her mother, Nina, and her father, Henry. She is survived by numerous cousins and a multitude of friends.
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Ms. Sickert was born on Oct. 14, 1925, in California where her mother and father traveled by automobile to seek work in the Golden State when work was scarce in the Midwest. After a number of years in California, the family returned to the Midwest and settled in Waverly. Anyone who visited Henry or Nina would hear, at length, about their daughter Darleen and quickly sense how proud they were of their only child.
Ms. Sickert was confirmed at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Waverly. She was a member of Windsor Heights Lutheran Church in Des Moines since 1969, where she served on the church council, sang in the church choir, played hand bells and was an active member of several committees.
After graduating from Waverly High School, Darleen attended and graduated from Allen Memorial Hospital Lutheran School of Nursing in Waterloo. She passed the state licensure exams and became an RN in 1947. After working as a hospital staff nurse and an office nurse, Ms. Sickert continued her formal education by enrolling at the University of Minnesota, from which she received a bachelor of science degree in public health nursing administration and supervision in 1962 and a master of public health degree in 1965.
While she was pursuing her professional graduate degrees Ms. Sickert worked as a regional public health nurse supervisor for the Iowa State Department of Health. In 1969, she became assistant director, public health nursing section, Department of Public Health, Iowa State Department of Health. In 1978, she was appointed director, a post she held until her retirement in 1988.
Following her retirement, Ms. Sickert completed the Clinical Pastoral Education Program at Iowa Lutheran Hospital in Des Moines. She served as a parish nurse for seven years at Trinity United Methodist Church in Des Moines.
Darleen passionately devoted her life to her nursing career. She gave the same devotion and passion to volunteer activities through a variety of organizations. She was known to go to extreme lengths to find and help those who are lost and rejected persons, helping them with love and compassion, with absolutely no concern for recognition or reward.
A 1995 article in the Iowa Nurse Reporter told of her efforts to assist a homeless man with the administration of his medications. When he did not show for a medication application, Darleen searched for him on the streets, in deserted houses and under bridges until she found him. She was a living witness for the Jesus she so loved by her service to anyone in need, regardless of color, religion or politics.
Ms. Sickert was a member of numerous professional and service organizations. She served as president of The Iowa Citizens' League for Nursing, 1972 to '74, and the Iowa Public Health Association, 1974 to '75, and was a committee member, chairperson and representative for several other nursing associated organizations. Darleen was a member of the executive committee at Bremwood (a residential home for persons with emotional challenges) in Waverly. She was elected to the Allen Nurses' Hall of Fame in 2002.
Ms. Sickert's volunteer activities included the Living History Farms, the Stork's Nest, the Red Cross disaster team and the Friendship Force of Greater Des Moines. Even with the busy schedule Darleen maintained, she traveled to numerous places including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Germany, England, Scotland, Russia, Brazil and Israel. Some of the travels were as an ambassador for the Friendship Force. She also served as a host to foreign visitors including persons from Taiwan, England, China, South Korea and India.
Memorials may be directed to the Darleen Sickert Memorial Scholarship for Nursing Students at Grand View University, Windsor Heights Lutheran Church or Wartburg College, Waverly. Arrangements by Iles Funeral Homes - Westover Chapel in Des Moines. Online condolences may be left at www.IlesCares.com.
Published in Waverly Democrat from Oct. 16 to Oct. 23, 2012