Darlene Phyllis (Lille) Onstot, age 93, passed away peacefully in the presence of family members at the Black Hawk Life Care Center in Lake View, Iowa on September 11, 2017. Darlene was born on May 10, 1924 in Lake View, Iowa to Clarence C. “Dutch” Lille and Frances R. (McCarter) Lille and was the fourth of five Lille daughters.
Darlene attended elementary and secondary schools in Lake View and graduated from Lake View High School in May 1942. She worked as a dental assistant in Lake View before moving to San Francisco in 1943 where she worked for Southern Pacific. She and five friends took civil service tests and moved to Chicago in 1944 to work for the Treasury Department in the Merchandise Mart. After World War II ended, she returned to Lake View to resume her work as a dental assistant until she married her high school sweetheart, Herbert W. Onstot, on July 20, 1947. Herb, also a Lake View High School graduate in 1940, had returned to Lake View after serving in the Army Air Corps in the South Pacific. He was a traveling salesman and he and Darlene lived in Hampton and Fort Dodge, before moving to Lake View in 1949 where they would spend the rest of their lives. Darlene and Herb were blessed with three children: Gregory Phil, Scott Herbert and Heidi Ann. They were married for over 68 years before Herb’s passing on January 25, 2016.
Darlene was consumed with family, friends and the town of Lake View for over six decades. While Herb was involved in starting an agricultural business in 1949, Darlene was a devoted wife, homemaker and mother to three children, a friend to so many and an enthusiastic volunteer. Selfless is an adjective her children use when describing their mother, always putting others ahead of herself. She was a proud and active member of the First Congregational United Church of Christ and gave generously of her time to assist the church with events, membership and fundraising projects. Her volunteer activities extended to serving at the local care centers, delivering meals to the elderly and selling “poppies” to support the American Legion and Ladies Auxiliary. She enjoyed music and was active in high school choral groups, church choir, local plays and winter carnivals. Darlene also had a deep affection for the outdoors, something instilled by her father who served as a game warden with the Iowa Conservation Commission, and she always kept her bird-watching guide and camera for capturing nature close by.
Darlene genuinely loved the community of Lake View and Black Hawk Lake since she was a little girl. She enjoyed spending time pruning the rose bushes in Speaker Park, assisting with beautification projects, investing in various projects and campaigns that would help Lake View or, simply, doing whatever she was asked to do. While she always felt awards were for the other person, she seemed genuinely touched when the city of Lake View presented her with the “Hometown Pride Award” in October 2015. However, the honor probably meant more to her family who had witnessed her many efforts and heard her express how rewarding it felt to help others.
Make no mistake, Darlene loved going to Puerto Vallarta for a month each winter to escape the Iowa wind and cold, yet Herb was the traveler and always planning the next adventure during their retirement years. Darlene’s real passion was her husband, children, five grandchildren and four great grandchildren. More the disciplinarian with her children, she had her way of doing things and enjoyed the challenge of helping guide them a bit in the early years and beyond. In addition, she absolutely loved spending time with them as adults along with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. To see her smile as she watched her grandchildren grow to have productive lives made everyone around her smile. And, her great grandchildren were the icing on the cake. She was a very special person with a smile and spirit that will be remembered forever, yet also missed deeply by all who knew and loved her.
Preceding Darlene in death were her mother and father as well as her husband, Herbert; sisters: Elaine Lille, Lois (Lille) Mack and Marjorie (Lille) Dettmann; three brothers-in-law: Laverne Dettmann, Edgar E. Mack and Albert T. Swihart. Surviving Darlene are sister Marian (Lille) Swihart of Grand Island, NE; her children: Greg (Nancy) Onstot of Springfield, MO; Scott (Janet) Onstot of Lake View, IA; and Heidi Ann (Bert) Johnson of Clive, IA; her grandchildren: Emily Elaine (Mike) Busch, Matthew Scott (Kelly) Onstot, Gregory James Onstot, Spencer Onstot (Nelly) Johnson and Rachel Ann (Clint) Pickard; and great grandchildren: Hayden Jane Busch, Farrah Mae Busch, Easton Edgar Onstot and Theodore Spencer “Theo” Pickard.
The family wishes to express sincere thanks to the staffs at Black Hawk Life Care Center in Lake View and Unity Point (Loring Hospital) in Sac City for their love and dedicated care of Darlene during the past year.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be directed to the Herbert W. and Darlene P. Onstot Community Fund, c/o Farmers State Bank, P.O. Box 428, Lake View, IA 51450. All memorial monies will be distributed to local causes that were favorites of Darlene and Herb.
Celebration of Life
Saturday, September 16, 2017
1st Congregational United Church of Christ
Lake View, Iowa