Darlene Yvonne Bleakney passed away peacefully at her home in Redmond, Ore., on Jan. 26, 2021. She was born Darlene Yvonne Highsmith on June 23, 1932. She was the last of six children born to Richard Morgan and Laura Jones Highsmith. She was preceded in death by her siblings Reginald, Phyllis, Richard, Shirley, and Marijane.
Darlene graduated from Sunnyside High School in 1950. She went on to graduate with honors in a joint degree program from Oregon State College and Oregon College of Education. She received a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in 1954. She later went on to take graduate courses at Central Washington University.
Darlene married Jesse “Pat” Bleakney in 1954 and began teaching second grade at Washington School in Sunnyside, Wash. She also began 35 years teaching Sunday school. Darlene and Pat adopted two children, Marney and Joel.
Darlene pursued a variety of interest and began tole painting for bazaars, consignments shops, and the Poor Man’s Show in Yakima. She was also a member of AAUW, Sunnyside Chapter of Children’s Home Society, PEO, and Wanita Grange.
Pat and Darlene moved to Dallesport, Wash., in 1975, where they began operations on the Dalles Mountain Ranch. Darlene continued painting and opened Hudson House Antiques in The Dalles with several friends. She also substituted in Lyle schools, became a library aide, was a leader of Dallesport 4-H club, and taught Sunday school and Junior Church at Gateway Presbyterian Church in The Dalles.
Darlene wrote two books, "Ideas for Library Teachers" and "Dalles Mountain Ranch." She also wrote several children’s books about a ranch pet, Gordon the Goose.
Pat and Darlene sold the ranch in 1993 and moved to Vancouver, Wash. After 16 years, they retired to The Greens in Redmond, where Pat passed away on their 62nd wedding anniversary.
Darlene is survived by children, Marney and Casey Coates and Joel Bleakney; grandchildren, Zachary Hull and Lindsey Hull; and numerous nieces and nephews.
She will be missed! Per her wishes there will not be a service. Baird Funeral Home, Bend, is in care of the arrangements.