Darlene Ann Hicks-Johnston passed away at peace early the morning of December 22, 2019 at her home in Arcata. Born Darlene Mendenhall in Sheridan, Oregon on March 10, 1939, Mom left this world knowing she was well-loved and that she had loved well. Married to her high school sweetheart, Mom and Dad raised three daughters and one son. After Bill Hicks, Sr.’s passing in 1992, she continued to run their business and remarried Art Johnston who passed in 2016.
Darlene worked in retail at numerous local stores and at Mad River Hospital as an office manager before becoming a truck owner. Darlene’s joys were her children, their spouses, her step-children, her nine grandchildren, and her 11 great-grandchildren.
Her children Debra Tomlinson (John), Linda Hammons (Larry), Bill Hicks, Jr. (Sherri), and Cindy Rodriguez (Mark) all had time to gather with Darlene in her final days. She expressed no regrets with her life, said she would do it all over again, and made sure everything after her passing was taken care of. That was how Mom handled things, with authority and efficiency.
Grandma was the person who her grandchildren could turn to for unconditional love. Janice, Tim, Carl, Jr., Bryan, Michael, Rebecca, Wayne, and step-grandchildren Randy and Patricia — they all knew how much they meant to her. Grandma was also an important part of her great-grandchildren’s lives: Joshua, Justin, Andrew, Tyler, Logan, Morgan, Natalie, Sarah, Lizzie, John, Jr., and Vinny. In addition, Darlene loved all her nieces and nephews and their children, too numerous to list.
Mom’s house was always open to family. We have fond memories of finding eggs filled with money at Easter with kids running around, Thanksgiving dinners with tables full of pies, and enough food for days of leftovers. Christmas was a huge event with lots of presents, full candy bowls, and a snowy village.
Darlene is preceded in death by her parents Syrl and Edith Mendenhall, her brothers Bill, Fred, Gordon, and John Mendenhall, and sisters Bette Vance and Florence Harp. She is survived by her brother Larry, and sister-in-law Dixie Mendenhall.
The family would like to thank the nurses and staff at Mad River Hospital for taking good care of Mom in her final days and arranging Hospice so she could go home where she was lovingly cared for by her oldest daughter and her husband. Family was the most important thing to Mom and we all will miss her dearly. Our lives will not be the same without our matriarch.
Paul’s Funeral Chapel in Arcata handled Mom’s funeral arrangements efficiently and a graveside gathering for family and close friends will be held on Thursday, 12/26/19 at Sunset Cemetery in Eureka at 1 p.m. to share memories of our beloved mother.
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