Date of Birth
Date of Death
Darlene Stoffa, age 89, of Elburn, left behind a lifetime of memories and a family full of love, in the early morning hours of Saturday, September 23, 2017. Surrounded by the love and prayers of her family, Darlene followed her Lord and Savior, but fell into the arms of her beloved George once again.
Lela Darlene Loughbridge was born January 18, 1928, in Delta, IA to John and Alta Loughbridge. She grew up on the farm where her parents raised Belgium horses. Darlene, as she preferred to be called, was a mischievous child who, with older siblings Phyllis Jean and Charles Allen, found life on the farm to be an adventure. Darlene was considered ornery by her siblings when she “stood her ground”. Her favorite place to play was in the barn where there were many places to explore. The animals were her friends and she was theirs including a lamb that followed her everywhere.
Darlene attended school in Delta and though school was not her favorite thing, she did enjoy Home Economics and anything with arts and crafts. In later years, she took some college classes in painting, crafts, art and jewelry making, always ready to learn a new skill. It was her gift; anything had a possibility to become something. She graduated from Delta High School and after school she worked making and packaging soup for the war effort.
One evening she and her sister, Phyllis were out for the evening and George Stoffa and one of his Army buddies stopped by the roadhouse. George was home on furlough before shipping out and as his eye surveyed the room, and the possibilities, it caught the “heart” of Darlene, a young lady just past 18. George and Darlene spent the rest of his furlough going to the movies and sitting in the park holding hands. On February 28, 1946, George called Darlene from San Francisco to say, “Iâ€™m home”. They were married a mere twelve days later on March 12, 1946, in Oskaloosa.
The newlyweds made their home in Marshaltown, IA, where George worked in sales for a beer distributor. They moved to Palatine, IL, where their daughter, Linda was born. In 1950, they moved to Elburn where George went to work at Burgess-Norton in Geneva and later became Elburnâ€™s maintenance man, police officer and fireman. Their family grew with the births of John, Mike, Loretta and Lora; Darleneâ€™s home economics classes came into play as she raised her busy family. They purchased their home on Reader St. in 1963. It was a kingdom unto itself, with George and Darlene lording over their growing family with equal parts strength, compassion, love and hilarity.
The Stoffa house became a hub of activity and a place that welcomed one and all. Just as she did with her crafts, Darlene could make something out of nothing in the kitchen as well. One such item was “Stoffa Soup”, a recipe and skill that has been handed down to younger generations; no one will ever make it quite like she did. There was always room for one more at the table, the coffee pot was always on and Darlene was a friend to young and old alike. It was a favorite place for kids of all ages, neighbors, family and friends. She had a warm heart, quick wit and a somewhat irreverent sense of humor but she was always ready to listen no matter the time of day or night. Darlene also served as Georgeâ€™s “girl Friday” making sure he had what he needed to cover his many jobs and responsibilities.
Along with caring for her own children, Darlene worked in the Elburn Elementary School cafeteria with Marge Larsen for 12 years cooking and feeding hundreds of school children. Her talent for crafts then took her to work as a florist for 19 years at the Kaneville Floral and Nursery. She returned home and started her own craft shop continuing her painting, knitting, sewing, crocheting, clay and paper projects. If it looked interesting, Darlene tried her hand at it. This continued even when she moved to the nursing home where she taught others her skills. Darlene loved flowers and her vegetable garden where she worked tirelessly and brought forth not only food for the table but beautiful flowers as well.
Following Georgeâ€™s passing in 2008, Darlene continued as the ruling matriarch of not only her family, but wherever she called home. Whether she was establishing her rule at Greenfields in Geneva, Oak Crest in DeKalb, or forging the DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center to her liking, Darlene not only made her presence known, she took her rightful place as a “resident favorite” with every smile, laugh and joke. No one was immune to her charm; resident, nurse and doctor alike, down every hallway and in every room; no one could help but love her. Darlene’s strength of will and spirit must have been forged in celestial steel because nothing could bring her down. Even in her last years, which were chock full of doctorâ€™s appointments, hospital stays, surgeries and bedside vigils, Darlene fought through it all. Most people would have given up long ago, but her determination and sheer “spunk” kept the doctors amazed and laughing as she proved them wrong, time and time again. Only in the last months did Darlene deem the time had finally come to say goodbye. She was finally able to echo the words uttered by her one and only beloved George, after his return from serving overseas, “Iâ€™m home”. And so she is.
Darlene was a charter member of the Elburn Firemenâ€™s Auxiliary as well as being a member of the Elburn American Legion Auxiliary, the Quivera Club and the Red Hat Society.
She is survived by five children: Linda Souders, John (Terri) Stoffa, Loretta (Jim) Rausch, Mike (Holly) Stoffa and Lora Stoffa Cain; nine grandchildren: Adam Souders, Aaron Souders, Ann Elizabeth (David) Dias, Todd (Molly) Stoffa, Sarah Stoffa, Matt Rausch, Tommy Rausch, Jonathan (Naomi) Cain and Charles Cain; three great-grandchildren: Abby and Cole Stoffa and Gianna Dias; her “adopted” daughter, Marleah Anderson Bond along with a “flurry of other adopted children”; her very best friend, JoAnn Stover; many beloved and treasured nieces and nephews, and a lifetime of friends who expressed that their lives were enriched by her presence.
She is preceded in death by her parents, John and Alta Loughbridge; her loving husband, George; her daughter-in-law, Shirley Stoffa; one sister, Phyllis Jean and husband, John Nuckles; her brother, Charles Allen Loughbridge; and numerous aunts and uncles.
Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m., Wednesday, September 27, 2017, at the Community Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, 100 E. Shannon St., Elburn. A funeral to celebrate her life will be held at 9:30 a.m., Thursday, September 28th, also at the church. Interment will follow at Black-berry Township Cemetery, Elburn.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Darleneâ€™s name. Checks may be made to the “Lela Darlene Stoffa Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes may be forwarded to the same address, the Conley Funeral Home Facebook Page, or at www.conleycare.com
A funeral to celebrate her life will begin at 9:30 a.m., Thursday, September 28, also at the Community Congregational Church of Christ of Elburn, 100 E. Shannon, Elburn, IL
Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m., Wednesday, September 27, 2017, at the Community Congregational Church of Christ of Elburn, 100 E. Shannon, Elburn, IL
Interment will follow at Blackberry Cemetery, Elburn.