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Heaven gained an angel January 24, 2024, Darlene Emma Hughes passed away at the age of 93 surrounded by her family at her home in Hamilton. She was born July 19, 1930 to William & Rena Harris at McAllister, Mt at the Inn by Ennis Lake. A Doctor from Butte was visiting & fishing, he was brought in off the lake to deliver the baby girl. She joined an older sister Lois. Darlene attended & graduated from Ennis High School. She worked at the bakery in Ennis after school & after graduation. She also helped Bill & Rena at the McAllister Cash Grocery. On September 16, 1948 her & Thomas Hughes were married. They took over Tom & Emily Hughes’ ranch a mile from McAllister. Darlene became a ranch wife raising a big garden, helping with the cows, pigs, sheep, chickens & horses & driving the tractors at haying season. She also helped her parents with the store & cabins & visited her Grandparents Jake & Emma Harris. Money was short & work was hard but it was a loving community & large extended family. Paula was born in 1951, I’m sure Grama Harris (Emma), Mother (Rena), Aunt Lois & Cousin Colleen were ecstatic to have another baby to coddle. Terry was born in 1953. Doc Losee had to be called away from the rodeo to deliver her. By then there were 2 more cousins. Many a good times were had at the Gramas & Aunt Lois’. I’m sure Mom had her hands full with 2 tom girls that were outside with the chickens, pigs & horses. We could hear her 2 miles away yell Paulaaaa. She canned vegetables out of her garden and ones that we picked at Harriet Clays Garden down by the lake with Charlotte & her boys. We would pick peas & beans for hours, so we thought, our reward was a swim in the lake. Then we had to go home & pop beans & hull peas for hours again!!!! All the ranch families were good friends & Mom helped cook at all the brandings. She was an excellent cook, her beginnings I’m sure came from Grama Harris & Rena. Cabbage tamales & Pasty’s were always a favorite. She loved to cook family dinners & even the last years she would help with everything. She fattened up Dad, the son in laws & Grandsons by making them clean up the last of the meal. And we always had dessert. After Paula & I were in Junior High Mom went to work in Ennis at the Madison Valley Telephone Company. That must have been a big step for her to go out & get a job. She was very fond of the Clarks. In 1969 the ranching had become too much work for Dad & they sold the ranch & moved to Hamilton, they found a place up Sleeping Child that they lived on till 2000. Mom applied for a job at the courthouse & was hired by the clerk & recorder for bookwork. June Moore retired in a short time & she was elected as Clerk & Recorder. She stayed working there for about 15 years. She made numerous friends & enjoyed serving the public. In her spare time, she sewed & made many of her own clothes. She went to cake decorating school & made many beautiful birthday & wedding cakes. She was very talented & crafty. She crocheted beautiful doilies & was also a good knitter. She loved turquoise jewelry & had a little store at one time & made suncatcher earrings. She was always having Dad do a remodel of the house or camp trailer. When we moved to Hamilton in 1969 Paula & I joined the Mountettes & Mom & Dad made lifelong friends with some of the members. They camped & travelled with Don & Vi Thomas & Dick & Sandy Singleton for years. After her retirement they all wintered in Arizona, becoming some of the first snowbirds. They boondocked at the Wild Horse Ranch south of Tucson. The Grandsons & Paula & I visited a few times & were taken on 4 wheeler rides & had many potlucks. She made many friends down there & they would come in the summers to visit. In 1992 Darlene & Terry did a month long trip to Norway. She had met a 3rd cousin & we went to where her Grampa Jake Harris had lived & met many relatives that she stayed in touch with. In 1995 Mom & Dad & Don & Vi made a trip to Africa & met more relatives of hers. They traveled to the Oregon coast to visit friends & made a trip to Alaska to fish. As they got up in age Dad wasn’t up to the traveling but Mom kept busy. She took a part time job at a shoe store for a while then went to work at Tristans Stained glass. If you drive by the Corvallis Methodist Church look up in the top windows & you’ll see some beautiful stained-glass panels that she helped make. She became very involved in the Senior Center, and again she made some very good friends & became President for many years. I’m sure she made a big difference down there. Mom supported Paula & I in all our horse activities & lives, still wanting to know about what we were doing & where we were going. She went to many Grandson & Great Grandkids activities. She kept involved with all of us. She was very fond of her Niece, Colleen, we kidded her that she was the favorite daughter, she did many kind things for Mom & Mom loved her dearly. Mom was her hair fashion model when she went to beauty school many years ago. I’m sure Mom thought it was great to have someone fuss over her as we were pretty busy riding horses & chasing cows. Mom watched a lot of the old westerns on TV & read books with Dad in his final years. She was always a caregiver to him. She was a caregiver to all of us, taking Wes & Kody in when his house burned down, going with me to all of Russ’s surgeries when he was a young boy, going with me to all of my surgeries, going with Dad to all of his surgeries, supporting Paula with her ranch life & having Clifford move in. She continued to watch Westerns on TV & started doing puzzles to pass the time the last year. She still played Tripoli with us & her mind was very sharp. She was a wonderful person & will be greatly missed by all of us.
She was preceded in death by her Parents, Sister Lois & Husband Tom. She is survived by her daughters Paula Plettenberg, Terry Reed (Cliff), Grandsons Clifford Reed, Russ Reed (Melissa), Wes Plettenberg (Regina), Great Grandkids Katelynn Reed (Jon Bounds), Ashlee Reed, Jayden Vogan (Anissa), Levi Vogan (Alex) , Keegen & Brady Reed, Kody Plettenberg (Karmen), Zack Wilson, Zane Wilson (Jacie) , Great Great Grandkids Kiya, Emmett & Jax Bounds & niece & nephews, and her faithful little dog companion Bubba of 16 years. Rest in peace Mom, we love you.
A Memorial Service will be held later this Summer at the Grantsdale Cometary.
Memorials can be made to the Bitterroot Humane Shelter or charity of choice.