Darlene Ethel Willard, born Darlyn Franklin, to Charles and Margaret Franklin of Leadville. Margaret re-married Verl Vorhies who Darlene would always refer to as her Dad. The family relocated to Canon City and opened up the McClure Hotel. She graduated from Canon City High School; Class of 1953. In 1952 Robert Willard walked into the hotel and into Darlene's heart. Just seventeen, it was love at first sight. They were married a year later August 30th 1953.
In 1955 Bob and Darlene attended a revival at the Foursquare Church and dedicated themselves to the Lord. They moved to California where Bob attended L.I.F.E Bible College and Darlene cared for their firstborn son Robert Mark. The family, now grown to include a daughter, Rebecca, moved back to Colorado where they pastored the La Junta Church and welcomed their second son, David. They moved to Colorado Springs to open "Sir Roberts Clothes for Men". In 1972 the family welcomed another daughter Darla. Together they ran several successful business and built their dream home in Monument. They traveled in their RV and enjoyed seeing the country.
Darlene was an accomplished pianist, seamstress, costumer and fiber artist. She loved Christmas. She gave birth to her daughter on Christmas day and earned the nickname "Mrs. Christmas". She was a devoted Christian, so the holiday held deep spiritual significance for her. It is very special to us that God chose this day to welcome her home. She was a mother to four, a "mom" to many.
She is survived by her husband Robert Leo Willard; her children and their spouses; Robert and Cindy Willard, Rebecca Willard, David and Hedda Willard, and Darla and Matthew Barbee; fifteen grandchildren; four great grandchildren; Brenda and Ronnie Wilson; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents Charles Franklin, Verl Vorhies, Margaret Greene; and her brother Charles Franklin.
Visitation will be from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m., prior to Memorial Services at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday January 6th, 2015 at the Wilson Funeral Home Chapel at 1449 S. 9th Street, Canon City, CO 81212. Cards/flowers can be sent to the same address. Arrangements are under the care of Wilson Funeral Home. Online condolences @ www.wilsonfuneralhome.org