Darlene LeClaire was born on June 20, 1931 on the family farm near Currie, Minnesota to Ernest and Lena Schreier Beech.
She grew up on the family farm and attended #5 Country School. At a Currie Town Hall dance, a sailor home on leave from the Navy, caught Darlene’s eye. A long-distance courtship and many love letters lead Darlene and Donald “Don” LeClaire to the alter on June 20, 1950 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Currie, MN. Following their marriage, they farm and milked cows. In 1960 they purchased a commercial fishing business and started fishing the local freshwater lakes. That same year they purchased land and built a hog confinement that Darlene tended to.
For the next 40 years, Darlene and Don worked side-by-side to a rewarding and fruitful business until retirement in 1999. Darlene loved the land. She had an acre sized garden that she cared for from seeding to processing and eventually to the kitchen table to be enjoyed by family and friends. Her flower beds were beautiful for all to behold, human and bird alike. She spent many hours tending the garden and the flowers. Those close enough could hear her singing Ave Maria in a clear soprano voice. Don passed away on February 17, 2017. Darlene remained in their home until 2018 when she moved to Lindenwood Assistant Living in Slayton, MN. Darlene was promoted to her eternal home on Thursday, March 18, 2021 after living a life full of purpose, hard work and commitment. She was a lifelong member of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. Darlene was a member of the CCW, the Catholic Order of Foresters and a 50-year member of the Catholic Daughters of America. Darlene had a deep faith and lived her faith in all areas of her life. Her greatest love was her family and friends. She always enjoyed a robust game of cards and fishing with her sister, Lorraine.
Survivors include her six children and their spouses, James and Mary LeClaire of Oak Harbor, WA, Diane London and fiancé, Steven Kost of Pierre, SD, Theresa and Ray Zeller of Redding, CA, Lori Hektner of Sioux Falls, SD, Marcia and Joe Schreier of Currie, MN, and Dave and Patty LeClaire of Currie, MN, 19 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandson, four sisters, Lorraine Jones of Slayton, MN, Beverly Gilliland of Slayton, MN, Doretta Landsman of Tyler, MN, and Eileen Johnson of Worthington, MN and several nieces and nephews and their families. She is preceded in death by her parents, husband, Don, daughter, Gail LeClaire, son, Douglas LeClaire, great-grandson, Samuel Hektner, two sisters and their spouses, Marcella “Sally” and Oliver Gregorie, and Bernice and Earl Silva, four brothers-in-law, Calvin Jones, Loren Gilliland, Virgil Landsman and Lloyd Johnson.
In an effort to keep everyone safe a private family service will be held at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Currie, MN with Msgr. R. Paul Heiting officiating. The organist is Patty LeClaire. The song leader is Samatha LeClaire. The pallbearers are her grandchildren. Interment is at Calvary Cemetery in Currie, MN. Per MN Executive Order, masks will be required, and social distancing and occupancy limits are to be followed. Totzke Funeral Home of Slayton is entrusted with arrangements. To send condolences visit totzkefuneralhome.com