Wednesday, August 17, 2011
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Clock Life Story Funeral Homes
Grand Haven Location
16777 Lincoln St.
Grand Haven, MI 49417
Rosary Wednesday evening 7:30pm
Thursday, August 18, 2011
11:00 AM EDT
St. Marys Catholic Church of Spring Lake
406 E. Savidge
Spring Lake, MI 49456
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
1050 W. western Ave.
Muskegon, MI 49441
Life Story / Obituary
Through the life of Darlene Major we learn that each day is a gift to be cherished and that it is only ourselves who can choose whether to bring blessings or strife to those around us. Darlene certainly filled the world with beauty through her grace, kindness, and spirit of generosity and in so doing, impacted the lives of many in a positive way. A devoted wife and mother, Darlene considered it pure joy to care for her husband and children leaving no doubt in their minds that they were first and foremost in her heart and life. Darlene’s journey was not without trying times, but her unwavering faith carried her during times when the storms of life loomed overhead. Her resilience, her timeless wisdom, and her unending love for others will be her shining legacy.
The thirties were some of the most trying days our nation has ever seen due to the unrelenting grip of the Great Depression. Countless Americans found themselves without work, without homes, and without hope for the future. We celebrated successes where we could find them, however, such as the development of a new synthetic fiber called nylon, the end of the career of John Dillenger, and the completion of Boulder Dam, which later became known as Hoover Dam. Despite the hardship of the world around them, there was great joy in one bustling family from Holland, Michigan, as they were anticipating the birth of their fifth baby. It was on May 11, 1931, that Darlene made her arrival and was welcomed into the world by her parents, Frank and Agnes (Fitzpatrick) Zant. She was raised in the family home on 8th Street in Holland during her earliest years alongside her older siblings, Robert, Frank, Mary Agnes, and Bonnie, and her younger siblings, Don Paul, Jerry, and Ron. In 1943 the family moved to Grand Haven where they settled into a home on 7th Street. Darlene’s father was a foundry worker while her mother had more than enough to keep her busy at home.
In many ways Darlene experienced an upbringing that was rather typical for the youth of her generation. Darlene and her siblings enjoyed going to the Grand Haven Roller Rink downtown by the Grand River. She was quiet by nature and usually rather shy, but she kept busy, too. As a young teen she had a job at the local Dairy Bar, and she attended local schools, graduating from Grand Haven High School in 1949.
With her education behind her, Darlene was ready to embark on the next phase of her life’s journey. She worked as a secretary at Challenge Machine Company, but it was her personal life that was really in for some excitement. As a young woman Darlene met and fell deeply in love with a young man named James Brown. The couple married in 1953 and a short time later, the young newlyweds were separated when James was sent to Korea to answer the call to serve. While he was gone, Darlene purchased a home for them all on her own, while working at Michigan Bell. Together they were blessed with three children: Cindy, Joni, and Jim. Darlene also cared for two special nieces, Caren & Mary Ann. The Brown family was a close-knit group who had a few traditions such as the Lawrence Welk Show on Saturday nights and 15 cent sliders at McDonald’s. The family was devastated with the sudden death of James on June 13, 1969, as a result of an automobile accident.
A new beginning unfolded for Darlene when she met a man named Lee Major while dancing at the Cottage Inn in Muskegon. The evening was full of good times and gave way to other evenings out for Darlene and Lee. Deeply in love, the couple married in July of 1972 and in addition her three children, Lee had two children of his own: Cindy and Donnie. They settled into a new home in Fruitport that always seemed to be the heartbeat of the family as it was the place for family gatherings of all kinds. Darlene was an avid gardener whose yard boasted of something that was always in bloom. She also loved going out, especially when they went dancing, and she and Lee walked the pier in Grand Haven almost every day. They traveled extensively including trips to Florida and out West. Darlene also enjoyed reading during her down time.
There were so many things that made Darlene such a beautiful woman on the inside and out. Although she didn’t take the sentiment lightly, she freely blessed others by telling them, “I love you.” Darlene was close to her parents throughout her life and tenderly cared for them during the sunset of their lives. She was a woman of faith who was a devout Catholic throughout her entire life. Darlene was filled with timeless wisdom and often reminded those around her of what really matters by telling them to be like Jesus, to love unconditionally, and that if you make your own bed you are going to have to lie in it.
Life became more difficult for Darlene and those who loved her when she first began showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease ten years ago. As the years went by, the disease progressed more and more and became something that affected her daily life in increasing amounts.
Although life will never be the same without Darlene Major here, her family and friends find comfort in knowing that she is no longer battling against the illness that plagued her for the past several years. There was no greater joy in her life than the family she treasured, and it will be her family who will follow in the footsteps she leaves behind. Darlene deeply loved those around her and was always looking for ways she could show kindness. A true gift in the lives of many, she will be deeply missed.
Darlene J. Major died on Saturday, August 13, 2011. Darlene’s family includes her husband, Leon; sons, James Brown Jr. of Grand Haven, Donnie (Carrie) Major of TX; daughters, Joni (Ed) Peterson of New Era, Cindy (Steve) Rosso of GH, Cindy (Brian) Turgeon of Lansing; 9 grandchildren; 4 great grandchildren; brother, Ron (Phyllis) Zant of Muskegon; sister, Mary Agnes Kohnke of Grand Haven; several nieces & nephews. She was preceded in death by her 1st husband, James Brown; 4 brothers & 1 sister. Services will be held on Thursday, August 18, 2011, 11:00 a.m. at St. Mary's Catholic Church - Spring Lake with Fr. Dan DePew officiating. Interment at Lake Forest Cemetery. Visit with Darlene’s family and friends on Wednesday, 2-4 & 6-8 p.m. at Clock Chapel-Grand Haven. MEMORIAL: Harbor Hospice.