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Obituary of Darlene Rhodes
Darlene, 89, went to be the Lord on July 4, 2023, her birthday. She was born July 4, 1934, to Francis and Beulah (Lorriane) Bierrum in Lewiston, Idaho. She attended school in Spokane and later graduated from Sunnyside Washington Sr. High School with honors. She was listed in the 1966 Edition of “Outstanding Young Women of America.” After high school, she attended Kinman Business University in Spokane and Washington State University, where she pursued secretarial studies and accounting. Darlene was able to type 70 words per minute and take shorthand at 90 words per minute.
Darlene was married in June 1954 and started her career in Nebraska, working for Kaiser Aluminum as a Confidential Secretary. When she divorced, she moved back to Washington State and worked for Grant County Public Utility District in Ephrata, Washington, as a Confidential Secretary. She remarried however, after five years, the marriage was not successful and she returned to work as a secretary with Star Machinery Company in Spokane. She was hired away to work for the Washington Water Power Company in Spokane as an Executive Secretary. She then worked for the Teamsters Union in Spokane as a Secretary-Treasurer.
Her parents had moved to Lacey, Washington, and Darlene followed them and went to work for the Washington State House of Representative as a House Status Clerk during session. When session ended, she worked for the City of Spokane as the Executive Secretary to the Mayor and City Councilmembers. She moved back to Olympia and once again worked for the House of Representative during session. After session, she was employed by St. Peter Hospital in Olympia and then EBASCO (Satsop) Services in Elma, Washington. After the closure of Satsop, she worked as a temporary employee for a number of state agencies. She received very high marks at every job and received accommodations for performing well. She was liked by her peers and interfaced well with managers. Employers were disappointed when she left their employment.
All her life, Darlene played piano at churches, starting when she was a small girl. She was incredibly musically talented and knew every hymn. Darlene and her mother attended Olympia/Lacey Church of God and were instrumental in starting the Sonrise Church of God in Olympia. Darlene was the pianist at this church for many years.
Darlene was living with her mother when Lorriane had a major stroke. Darlene was a wonderful, caring, and devoted daughter and took care of her for eight years until she passed away in 2014. Darlene would go to the nursing home every night to feed her mother and spend the evening with her.
Surviving are four first cousins, Fay M. Crowder of Monticello, Indiana, Gary Bierrum of Crystal Falls, Michigan, Henry "Hank" Bierrum of Raleigh, North Carolina, and Marla K. Bierrum of Winamac, Indiana. She also is survived by a number of nieces and nephews. Loved ones who have passed away are her parents; Bierrum grandparents; ten aunts and uncles; and five first cousins.
Darlene was very religious and we know she is watching from heaven. Darlene’s cousin Marla was planning to visit her in 2018, but a car accident prevented the visit. Marla and Darlene became close the last five years. Marla appreciated the wonderful birthday cards Darlene sent her. Marla and Darlene would talk when Marla was in her car on the way to medical appointments.
Darlene will be missed greatly by all her family and friends.
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