Malone Funeral Home
From scraps of fabric and threads of life, we weave a tapestry of our own design. The colors and textures are unique to each of us. Darlene Montgomery was an accomplished seamstress who placed the last stitch to her beautiful quilt of life at 5 p.m. on Jan. 4, 2013, in King’s Daughters Medical Center in Ashland. Surrounded by children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, with Elvis singing “Peace in the Valley,” Darlene laid down her work and allowed her busy hands to finally rest.
Darlene Lore Montgomery was born Dec. 13, 1928, in Samaria. Her parents, George and Ruby Ash Lore, worked hard at farming and various jobs as they raised Darlene and her three brothers, Harold, Carl and Lowell, and her sister, Doris. Two other brothers, Harlan and Norman, died in infancy.
Darlene spent much of her younger years in Indiana, but moved back and met a local boy named Burke Montgomery after he returned from a WWII tour in the Army. She fell asleep one day while crocheting at her Aunt Lacey’s only to be awakened by Burke unraveling her needlework onto her face. This first spat led to their marriage on March 22, 1947. The newlyweds were expecting their first baby in the spring of 1948 when Darlene’s mother died at the age of 39. The children were scattered, Burke and Darlene took in Lowell “Pete,” adding their first baby, Philip, two weeks later. Another baby boy, Bob, came along in 1950. Harold, Pete and Doris stayed with the family on and off throughout their childhoods. Darlene’s dad remarried and added three additional siblings, Karen, Geraldean and Elbert. Burke and Darlene’s family also continued to grow, adding their first daughter, Debbie, in 1956. Work took this young family to Oregon and Indiana and finally back home to Greenup County, where Burke worked for the railroad and farmed. Darlene worked equally hard as a homemaker, raising huge gardens, canning and freezing food, sewing and crocheting, decorating their home with her handiwork. Her green thumb was evident in the bountiful flower beds and houseplants that surrounded and filled their home. A second daughter, Dee Dee, came along in 1963 followed by a gall bladder attack that ended up being named Tom in 1968, which completed the family of five.
The family built a new home in 1971 on the original Montgomery house seat at Lost Creek and Darlene set out once again transforming the place into a home with flowers and crafts. Grandchildren began to arrive, Christy, Angie, Donna, Becky, Cassie and Jamie. Darlene cooked huge meals and spoiled any and all, especially nieces and nephews who referred to her as their “favorite aunt” and adding “you’re my ONLY aunt” with a chuckle.
Tragically, Burke passed away in 1984 before he could even retire. Darlene was lost without him and moved to a smaller house in Worthington close to her daughter, Debbie. There, she enjoyed attending the First Baptist Church in Worthington and often shared her remembrances of joining the church as a teenager at Lost Creek. Her loss and heartache was further eased with more grandchildren and more spoiling for Shane, Jacob, Katie, Lauren and Burke. Darlene rocked a million miles in her chair, many times with the five children (and Shane’s blankey) piled on top of her all at the same time. Her special bond with her granddaughter, Donna, grew with the birth of her first child, Zachariah “Mamma’s Big Boy” who made Darlene laugh with his “yasanya” and Garth Brooks impersonations.
In 1995, another tragedy broke Darlene’s heart, her oldest son, Philip, was diagnosed with cancer. He left us in 1996, leaving a wound that never healed. His grandchildren, Blake, Lindsey, Mandy, Devin, Logan, Josh, Brittany and Emma, missed out on their Pappaw’s special “sleep treatments” and being teased with nicknames. Darlene eased her pain with friends and family, church and hobbies. Her time was soon fully occupied when Nicholas “Mamma’s Baby Boy,” the youngest grandson, arrived and she could once again be found driving matchbox cars and building tents from sheets in the living room.
Darlene was multi-talented, gardening, canning, cooking, crocheting and crafts. Her most accomplished skill was being mamma to any child who sat on her lap. Her life was filled with family and friends too numerous to list. Old friends, Clara Stephens Carpenter, Ann Haight, Helen Gilbert, Lillian Stephens, Lena Stephens as well as newer friends; Elsie Cumpton, Marcella Poling, Wilma Hewlett, Gay DeBord, Helen Kirk, Wanda Cornett and Joyce Ramey; and the most special and dearest sister-in-law of 65 years, Mildred Bush, all enriched her life. Evening routines included a shared meal with Elsie and Wheel-of-Fortune and Jeopardy promptly at 7 p.m. When ill health plagued Darlene, her daughter and son-in-law, Debbie and Phillip, opened their home to her. Poor eyesight forced Darlene to give up her love of reading and needlework, but books on tape and hours of phone calls filled her days. Little ones in the household, Kenzie, her special Bubby and Addie Grace, brightened her hours. Her days of spoiling children changed and she, herself, was the one who was spoiled. Phillip catered to her each day, getting her coffee “heated just right” with a “little cereal and a big banana” each morning regardless how early she awakened.
Although we won’t have another 75th birthday party for an old goat or another Ralph the dog who moves in, we are confident that happy times continue. Those of us left behind wish we could have witnessed the reunion that occurred in heaven on Friday evening. Darlene is with Burke once again (surely spatting), she is witness that Philip no longer suffers from his cancer, and she is with her own mommy who she has missed for 64 years, as well as her daddy, brother and a host of family and friends.
The funeral will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday officiated by Brother Glenn Stephenson. Burial will follow at the Montgomery Family Cemetery on Lost Creek Road.
Friends may call from 5 to 8 p.m. today, Jan. 7th, at Malone Funeral Home in Grayson. We invite all who have known Darlene to join the family in a celebration of her life. Visitation will reconvene at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 8, continuing until her life celebration ceremony at 1 p.m.
Remembrances will continue for any and all who wish to join the family at Debbie and Phillip’s house located at 2082 Culp Creek Road, Argillite.