Darlene Ann Warder Benson

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Darlene Ann Warder Benson, age 82, passed away Friday morning August 20th at the home of John and Karen (Benson) Neil surrounded by family members. Darlene was born in Long Beach California on June 21, 1939, to parents, Allen and Dorothy Warder. At the age of 9, Darlene’s mother Dorothy, married Charles Collyar who raised her as his own daughter. Darlene graduated from Wilson High School in Long Beach California, where she met the love of her life and future husband, John Benson. Darlene was a high school flag girl, cheerleader, and dancer. John was the quarterback of the football team. They were high school sweethearts, and eventually married on July 20, 1958 in Long Beach. They honeymooned in Yosemite, before making their first home in Scottsdale Arizona, where John played basketball at Arizona State University. The following year Darlene and John moved back to Long Beach where they would start their family. Darlene was the mother of four children, Philip, Kent, Drew and Karen. In 1965 they moved their family to Carbon Canyon in Brea, California where she became a Cub Scout den mother, a classroom mom, and a square dancer with her husband. Brea is where Darlene got her first experience with “country life” — horses, cattle and rattlesnakes. In 1972, Darlene and John moved to Winters, California where they were active in the community and raised their children. Darlene was a member of Winters Beta-Alpha-Beta Sorority, Fort Knightly, and Soroptimist organizations. She was also a member of the Lions Club, where she chaired the Lions Club speech contest, served on the school exchange program, and worked the Blood Drive. She helped plan the annual Fort Knightly fashion show luncheons where she took pride in having her granddaughters as model participants. Darlene Served on the scholarship committee in each organization she was involved in. Darlene had a love of music and took voice lessons at Solano College, sang in the Solano College choir and was a member of the Winters Circle of Singers. 3 generations of women – Darlene, her daughter Karen, and mother-in-law Dora – all took Early Childhood Education classes together at Solano Community College. Darlene was dedicated to the 4-H and FFA programs. Darlene was the Director of the Yolo County 4-H Camp for 10 years in Dobbins. Watching her children and grandchildren during swim meets at the Bobby Greenwood Pool was a favorite summer event for Darlene. Darlene worked the concessions booth and timed races. You could always count on her to buy raffle tickets, cook beans for a banquet, donate to the livestock buyers’ pool, and support school activities. Darlene was awarded the Honorary Chapter, State and American FFA degrees. Darlene became affectionately known to many as “Grandma Dar” to the hundreds of Winters kids that attended the Karen Lynne School which she owned and operated with her daughter, Karen. While her grandchildren were active in sports at Winters High School, during football seasons, she would spend the week planning and preparing the “open gate” Friday lunch at their home at 8 Edwards Street, for football players, cheerleaders, coaches and whomever made their way over. She loved keeping a beautiful garden, antiquing, and attending musical and broadway performances. She was always open to adventure, travel, and road trips. She loved traveling to new places and making friends along the way. She spent many years driving her granddaughters to piano lessons and enjoyed attending recitals. Darlene was an avid tea drinker and hosted an annual themed tea party during the holidays. This special event included wonderful tea-time foods, an assortment of tea blends, music, and games! She lived with curiosity, enthusiasm, an openness for life, while having a magical twinkle in her eye. Darlene had eight grandchildren: Patrick, Brenden, Paul, Breanne, Brock, Ashlynne, Tyler, and Brooke. She had one Great Grandson, Brody Lucas. She adored all her grandchildren deeply and would light up when she was asked about them. Darlene battled a rare disease called Progressive Bulbar Palsy for several years. Her family is grateful for the wonderful care providers and Hospice nurses that comforted her during this time. She was beautiful, graceful, loving, and eternally optimistic. Darlene was the most warm, boisterous and welcoming person. She was everyone’s biggest cheerleader and saw the goodness and light in every individual. She was a true friend to so many. Darlene is imprinted in our hearts forever. We love you Grandma. Always and forever. A celebration of life is TBA for later this year.

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  1. So sorry to hear of Darlene’s passing, she was such a sweet person – my condolences to all of the Benson family.

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