Darline O. Smith, Oregon, peacefully passed away on Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at Serenity Hospice and Home. She was surrounded by family and caregivers from Serenity whose lives were blessed by her as she was deeply blessed by them during her three years there. It truly was her home. Born July 26, 1918 in Naper, NE to Robert and Bessie (Briggs) Black. She was married to James Smith on November 27, 1942 in Omaha, NE; he proceeded her in death on August 5, 1995. In 1949, Jimmy and Darline experienced the loss of their five-year-old son, Davey Lee, in a car accident. It changed their lives forever. Despite her grief, Darline set herself on a new course - toward giving passionately to her family and to her students. She changed the lives of those close to her and to the students she served. She began her 41-year teaching career in a one room school in Nebraska and retired teaching first grade in New Milford. Her passion for teaching never ended. In her retirement, she volunteered in the Winnebago Schools, and at Carlson and Froberg Elementary Schools in Rockford. Even during her last three years at Serenity Home, she was always asking if there was something she could do to help, and she made sure to correct the staff’s grammar. Darline also volunteered at Rockford Health Systems, was a member of Spring Creek Congregational Church, a member of the New Milford Fire Auxiliary for over 40 years, a member of the Hummel Club for 25 years, a member of the Knitters Guild, and enjoyed bowling. She was passionate about education and about spending time with students to help them learn how to read. She loved her nieces and nephews and spent many years supporting them in all their endeavors. She is survived by nieces and nephews; Cheryl (Dr. Robert) Jarrett, Cyndy (Rodney) Hayenga, Cindy Storz, Ken (Joyce) Wills, Joan (Bruce) Benning, and Tammy Black, along with many great and great-great nieces and nephews. She was proceeded in death by her parents, her husband, James Smith, a son, David Lee, sisters, Dorothy Storz, and Donna Wills, a brother, David Black, and nephews, Steve Storz, and Dan Black. Memorials can be made to Serenity Hospice and Home. Sundberg Funeral Home, 215 North Sixth Street, Rockford, Illinois 61107 is caring for the family.
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