WKEB Obituaries Blog

Darlene J. Drager


Darlene Jean Drager was the last of 12 children of Henry, Sr. and Bertha (Barkow) Dassow to enter into her Eternal Home.


Darlene was born November 14, 1934 in Medford, baptized on January 6, 1935 and confirmed October 31, 1948 at Trinity Lutheran near the Dassow homestead. She was the 11th of 12 children who grew up on the farm knowing the hard work of chores, gardening, preparing meals not only for the family but for those who came to help during planting and harvesting seasons. She left school after her eighth grade year to help on the farm. She often told stories of the long walks to school and the bull that chased them, and the lunch pails that held lard sandwiches and other farm grown foods.


On January 23, 1954, she and Richard Drager, Sr. were married. They had four children: Shirley (Kelvin) Ruesch, Eau Claire; Nancy (Tim) Shannon, Colby; Richard, Jr. (deceased 2019); and Gary, Medford. Preceding her in death were her husband, Richard, Sr, her son, Richard, Jr; her parents; her brothers: twin Donald, Hilbert, Henry Jr, Harold, Ralph, Clarence, Robert, Alvin, Arnold and her sisters Elaine Gumz and Ardella Dohrwardt along with nephews and in laws.


Darlene loved to kid, play Rummy 500, dunk cookies in coffee, bake cookies and coffee cakes, and make fry cakes. When visiting you always had to take with you some of her homemade goodies. Her biggest joy was spending time with her family. She enjoyed short trips to Bayfield, Wausau, Marshfield, Eau Claire, and Stillwater. She loved flower gardens and berry patches. Her joys included gardening and canning, putting up decorations for every holiday, hanging out sheets for the fresh air smell, and making sure the babies were totally spoiled with gentle cheek pinches and hugs.


Darlene had many hardships in her life. After a horrific car accident in 1986, she was the superb caregiver for her husband until his passing in 1993. Between 1993 and 2019, she cared for others in the family. In 2020 Darlene moved to Eau Claire to be taken care of by Shirley and Kelvin. In April, 2022 she returned to Medford and lived at Vita-Care Assisted Living until her passing September 1 under St. Croix Hospice care. She enjoyed her residential family: George, Tom, Barb, Eileen, Helen, Rosie, Mary, and Doris. When they blew kisses at her, she blew them back. Residents let her know that she took such wonderful care of her baby doll which made Mom smile.


Her grandchildren are Walter (Amie) Marzinske, Alisa Marzinske, Amanda Geiger, Jeremy Lapp, Kurtis Drager, Sara Drager, Bradley Ruesch, Elizabeth Ruesch; great grandchildren Montana, Sierrra, Chantelle, Riely, Abby, Abbie, and Mia; and great great grandchildren: Arianna, Octavia, Callie, and newly born twins Laiklynn and Oaklynn.


A special thank you to Diane Anderson, APNP, Aspirus Medford Clinic, and Dr. Kristina Schuldt, Mayo Clinic Health System, Eau Claire for their compassionate care and kindness during the years Darlene was seen by them.


Visitation will be held at Hemer Pickerign Funeral Home (Medford) on Friday, September 8 from 5-7 with a prayer service by Rev. Russow and eulogy by daughter Shirley. On September 9, visitation will be at Zion Lutheran Church (Stetsonville) an hour before the service at 11:00. Lunch to follow after the service. Committal will be at a later date.


Memorial donations can be made to the family of Darlene Drager.


Hemer-Pickerign Funeral & Cremation Services of Medford and Rib Lake is serving the family. Please visit www.hemerfuneralservice.com to share condolences online.


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