Her abiding faith in God and love of family was Darleen’s cornerstone. In addition to providing a loving home for her family, Darleen was an early adapter to the computer age. She started work in 1965 as a key punch operator at Massey Ferguson, in Racine, Wisconsin, then worked 15 years at Tenneco Oil and retired after 22 years from the Department of Public Safety in the Highway Patrol Division in Oklahoma as a systems integrator. Darleen’s creativity and love of life was evident in her beautiful children, her awesome chocolate chip cookies and red velvet cake, her amazing flower garden and her love of the arts. Darleen sang, danced, loved horseback riding, drawing and painting, sewing dolls and clothing, did wood carving, wrote and illustrated poetry, which was published. Her favorite responses when faced with adversity were, “Grab them bootstraps and start pulling” or “Do more good and play nice.” Affectionately known, at various times in her life, as Dutchess or Red, the most precious names to Darleen were Mom, Gramma, Sis and Aunt Dar.
She is preceded in death by her parents and a brother, Dennis.
Darleen is survived by her children: Theodore Leissner (Michelle) of Mustang, Travis Leissner (Amy) of Yukon and Denice Lakin (Jimmy) of Yukon; her siblings; Sandra Cecchini (Adam), Rick McCluskey (Ann), Twila Rodenberg (“Bill”), Jeri Britton (Jim), James McCluskey, Kim McCluskey (Jenny), Michael McCluskey (Shannon) and Marla McCluskey and sister-in-law Diana; also by 11 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
“Oh! A wisp of air, a familiar scent, ‘It’ll be OK ‘, softly whispered, ‘The loving can still be shared,’” from the poem “Mom” by Darleen Dukes (1988).
Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7 at Hope Connection Church, 8309 S. Santa Fe Ave, Oklahoma City. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Darleen’s name to the Diabetes Foundation, Heart Association or the veterans.