Darlene Maxine Anderson, long term resident of Elkhart, Kan. and for the past year of Fort Laramie, died peacefully in her sleep late Tuesday, May 28 at Community Hospital in Torrington. Darlene was born Oct. 11, 1932 in Lingle, the daughter of Robert Lloyd (Jack) Oliver and Irene Rozella (Milnes) Oliver.
Darlene began her adult life early. After attending school in Fort Laramie and Lingle, she left home for Scottsbluff, Neb. at the age of 13 where she secured the first of many food service positions working a lunch counter in Scottsbluff. It was while working the early morning shift in a small diner in Ulysses, Kansas several years later that she first met her husband of nearly 60 years, Henry Anderson (known by his friends and family as Andy).
Darlene and Andy were married in Elkhart, Kan. on Dec. 19, 1958. Together they raised a family of five sons. While Andy worked most years in auto parts sales and Darlene worked in Elkhart restaurants as a waitress, cashier and cook. She was well known for her crème pies and continued to provide them for the restaurant for years after she retired from full time work.
In the 70s Andy and Darlene owned and managed the El Rancho Restaurant in Elkhart. During those years they touched and influenced the lives of many of the local high school girls who were working in the restaurant. Many of those women today still hold Darlene and Andy close to their hearts with fond memories of their time in the El Rancho Restaurant.
Darlene was well known for her skills in the kitchen. She took great pride in serving her family, as well as her customers, excellent home-cooked meals. She had a pot or a pan specifically for each dish she cooked. If you asked her if she could use a different pot, her reply was, “Well, you could. But it just wouldn’t taste the same.”
She was also an avid card and game player, always ready for a game of skit-skat, Royal Rummy, pitch, or marbles. If she couldn’t find anyone else to play with, she played Solitaire, often for hours on end.
Survivors include sons Robert of Liberal, Kan., Joe and wife Renee of Torrington, Steve and wife Leann of Palmer, Alaska, Ed and wife Melba of Rolla, Kan., and Dave and wife Renita of Colorado Springs, Colo., sisters Myrna of Fort Laramie, Judy and Janet of Guernsey, and Joan of Torrington, brothers Wayne of Fort Laramie and Rudy of Douglas, eight grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.
Darlene is preceded in death by her husband, Henry J. Anderson, her parents, four sisters, three brothers, grandson Eric Anderson and great-grandson Malen Anderson.
Graveside services were held Saturday, June 1 in the Elkhart Cemetery followed by a Memorial Service at the Church of the Nazarene in Elkhart, Kan.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, June 7 in the Fort Laramie Country Church in Fort Laramie. Pastor Marty Rostad will be officiating.