Central Oregonian 2005

Darlene Eakin

Darlene Eakin, mother, grandmother, friend, adventurer, and supporter of athletics, passed away 
Friday at her home in Bend, Oregon while listening to the Crook County Cowgirls play at the 4A 
state volleyball tournament. She was 67.

The cause of death was ovarian cancer, which she had battled for more than three years.
   
Darlene was best known for her infectious smile and enthusiastic outlook on life. She had an 
unwavering desire to push those around her to be the best they could be.
   
Darlene was born in Junction City, Oregon and graduated as the first female student body 
president of Junction City High School in 1956. She went on to Oregon State University and 
graduated with a physical education degree in 1960. She married Merle Eakin in 1960. They moved 
to Prineville, Oregon where she started her teaching career at Crook County High School.
   
From 1963 to 1975 she dedicated her energy to raising her three daughters Renae, Heidi, 
and Tonya. During this time you might find her waterskiing, snowskiing, camping, rodeoing, 
bowling or chasing cows and sheep.
   
She continued her teaching career, since 1975, in Cove Oregon, La Grande, Oregon and the 
Department of Defense Dependent Schools of Japan and Korea. She was dedicated to 4-H and served 
as a club leader as well as the president of the Leaders Association in Union County. Her 
commitment toward athletics was evidenced by coaching volleyball and being a dedicated supporter 
of her daughters in volleyball, basketball, track and softball. She was most comfortable on a 
set of bleachers somewhere in the state visiting with other athletic enthusiasts. Darlene was a 
master of asking "20 questions" of a perfect stranger.
   
She loved skiing and made sure that school vacations were spent skiing with family and friends 
somewhere in the northwest. She has been a season pass holder at Mt. Bachelor since 1962. Her 
quest for health fitness was apparent with 5K)s, walking Pilot Butte and working out along with 
eating carrots and apples. She participated in every Hot Shot Memorial run.
   
Darlene continued her "no fear" attitude as she traveled around the world running in hash events, 
playing golf, attending Olympic events, country dancing, scuba diving, skiing, and gambling. 
Climbing the Great Wall of China, Oregon)s South Sister, the Grand Canyon and Mt. Fuji were 
some of her memorable outings.
   
Darlene retired from the Department of Defense in 1999 returning home to her mountains and her 
outdoor adventures in central Oregon. Her retirement included being a ski instructor at 
Mt. Bachelor, volunteering for Volunteers in Medicine, picking up garbage for the Adopt a Road 
program and attending reunions with her classmates. Her greatest thrill in retirement was being 
her grandchildren)s number one fan. Jessica and Zachary Lea, as well as Andrew and Kelsy Weber 
were the apples of her eyes.
   
She was saddened by the fact that she had to go before she could see them graduate from college. 
She loved animals and always made time to stop and pet a dog or cat. The last year was spent 
in the constant companionship of "Gyspy" her grey lap dog.
   
Darlene is survived by three daughters and their families: Renae, Terry, Andrew and Kelsy Weber 
of Vale, Heidi, Jessica and Zachary Lea of Prineville and Tonya and Mark Koopman of Bend, her 
brother, Rod Johnson and sister Doris Allison. Her celebration memorial service will be held 
Friday, Nov. 18 at 4 p.m. at the Powell Butte Christian Church, 13720 SW Highway 126, Powell 
Butte, Oregon.
   
Memorial contributions can be made to the Darlene Eakin Athletic Fund, Bank of the Cascades, 
103 NW 3rd Street, Prineville, OR 97754. When finances are a hardship, this fund will assist 
children of all ages so they may have the opportunity to participate in athletics.