Darlene Van Arkel was born on June 13, 1928, to Harry and Jeannette (De Boef) Van Arkel near Oskaloosa, Iowa. She was the younger of two daughters, the family having already been blessed by the arrival of her sister, Gladys, about five years earlier. They made their home on the farm a little southwest of Oskaloosa and the girls attended country school in the area.
Tragedy struck when Darlene’s dad passed away leaving her without a father at the tender age of 9 years. This was a defining moment in Darlene’s life and out of necessity taught her to become more independent. A few years later the family moved into town where Darlene attended Oskaloosa High School. She learned to play the violin and excelled in school, graduating as the class valedictorian in 1946. Darlene worked in the office at Hackert’s Locker in Oskaloosa for a short time after high school.
Darlene met and subsequently married Edward Glenn Van Zante on August 20, 1947, at the Central Reformed Church in Oskaloosa. Ed’s uncle, the Rev. Anthony Van Zante, performed the ceremony. It was said that it was so hot that day that even the candles at the front of the church were drooping.
Darlene and Ed made their home about four miles west of Pella, Iowa, on the farm where Ed grew up. They were to be blessed to live there their entire lives.
Two children were born to this union: Larry Craig on June 5, 1951 and Judith Diane on February 24, 1954. When the children were still young, Darlene was diagnosed with a very bad case of hepatitis and was hospitalized in serious condition in Iowa City, Iowa for a while.
Several years later she began working as a nurse’s aide at the new Pella Community Nursing Home. Darlene enjoyed bookkeeping and eventually turned to that occupation, working in the office at Ring-O-Matic Manufacturing in Pella for many years until her retirement in 1990.
Over the years, Darlene was active in the First Reformed Church, Circle, Ladies Aid, Guild and serving dinners at Tulip Time. She and Ed both sang in the choir at First Reformed Church and loved to listen to gospel music. Darlene was an avid reader of Christian books and had a thirst for knowledge about God/Jesus and of the life He called her to live. She knew Him as her personal Savior and knew that heaven and a grand reunion were waiting for her.
On Monday morning, March 18, 2013, she passed into glory while being cared for at her home. She attained the age of 84 years, nine months and 5 days.
Darlene lost her only sister, Gladys Sarver, at the age of 55 years in 1979. This was another defining moment in her life and brought about the relocation of her mother, Jeannette Van Arkel, to Pella where Darlene could more easily care for her. She would also go on to provide care for Ed’s mother, Nellie Van Zante.
Those who will forever cherish her and her memory and who will be reunited in heaven with her some day are: Larry and Arlene (Uitermarkt) Van Zante of Pella,Kristine and Dr. David Cornelder of Des Moines, Elise, Rachel and Josiah, Ben and Michelle Van Zante of Macomb, Illinois, Hannah, Livia, Jaeda and Natalie, Matthew and Nicole Van Zante of Bellevue, Nebraska, Diane Van Zante of Pleasant Hill.
Of her original family Darlene leaves a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Gerald M. and Rena Mae (Paltzer) Van Zante of Monroe, Iowa; along with a niece and several nephews.
Darlene was preceded in death by her husband, Edward Van Zante, on October 31, 2005; her parents, Harry and Jeannette Van Arkel; her sister, Gladys and her husband, Donald Sarver; and her parents-in-law, Delis G. and Nellie (Gosselink) Van Zante.
Funeral services were held on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at the First Reformed Church in Pella. Arrangements were handled by Van Dyk – Duven Funeral Home.