Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Darlene Oakes

September 11, 1951 - May 10, 2023
Wyoming, MI



Thursday, June 1, 2023
11:00 AM EDT
St. Dominic Catholic Church
50 Bellevue Street SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49548


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Van Andel Institute: Attn Philantrhopy
333 Bostwick Ave. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Please indicate Alzheimers Disease Research on dropdown menu online, or in memo line on check or donation envelope



Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-3409
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Darlene Buck was a very caring wife and sister. Loving and compassionate, there simply wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for anyone in need. Gone too soon, Darlene’s genuine kindness will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.

The 1950s were known as the decade of the baby boomer and the modern American family. Television was growing in popularity and families joined together in living rooms across the nation to tune into the latest episode of Lucille Ball or Western. Proud parents, Frank and Doris (Gross) Buck welcomed home their newborn daughter and oldest child, Darlene Ann, on September 11, 1951, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Five years later, she was joined by her younger sister, Maureen, completing their family.

Growing up, Darlene had a typical childhood of the time. The family was active in their faith life and gave their kids a Catholic education. Darlene enjoyed participating in Girls Scouts and enjoyed spending most of her time outdoors. As a family, they enjoyed going to visit her grandparents at Saint Anthony Village. She was proud to graduate from Edison High School. After high school, Darlene entered the world of work.

As a young adult, she became acquainted with Patrick Oakes who lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They began conversing and writing letters. Eventually, Pat took time to come for a visit and the rest was history! Once they were serious, Pat's parents made plans to help Pat bring her Michigan. He flew back to Minnesota to help her pack up and move with him to Grand Rapids. Darlene moved in with Pat’s sister for short time until Pat's sisters helped her find an apartment of her own. She thrived in her new surroundings and started working as a beautician at Dotson’s. Darlene and Pat joined in holy matrimony on September 8, 1973, at Holy Name of Jesus Church. The newlyweds took their honeymoon in the beautiful area of Muskegon. They made a beautiful life together, settling first on Elm Street in Burton Heights for about 12 years before moving to Prairie Creek Apartments in Wyoming.

Wyoming became their forever home where Darlene enjoyed being a wonderful homemaker. She relished in her traditional roles of keeping up the housework and serving Pat hot meals at the end of the day. She was an excellent cook and enjoyed baking her grandma's recipe for Popovers, one of Pat’s favorite treats! They both enjoyed taking road trips around the state and cherished their memories of visiting the north pier in Grand Haven to fish. It was common that they left without a batch of fish and enjoyed stopping off at Breton Village for a seafood dinner before heading home. They also loved touring up north to Sleeping Bear Dunes, Glen Lake, and Mackinac Island. She and Pat spent a lot of time with his extended family. The two of them never missed a get-together and enjoyed keeping close to family. Darlene also enjoyed occasional visits with her sister, Maureen, as well. Family was important to her.

In her free time, Darlene enjoyed the simple pleasures in life. An avid reader, she enjoyed her daily Bible readings, as well as Reader’s Digest and the newspaper. She was a long-time fan of the humorous writing of columnist, Erma Bombeck. When it came to television, she and Pat loved the original Saturday Night Live, as well as older movies. They enjoyed going to the theater to take in the latest movies or watch older versions on TV starring John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. Everyone who knew Darlene knew about her large collection of dolls and stuffed animals. She could never have enough of them! For the past twenty years of her life, she started having significant health problems. As her health declined, she had lots of hospitalizations with extended recovery times in various adult care facilities.

Sadly, she is gone. A wonderful caregiver, who lived an active life, Darlene leaves a legacy of being generous with her time and resources. May her loved ones always know that she loved them beyond measure and may her many special memories live on in their hearts forever.

Darlene Ann Oakes, age 71, of Wyoming, Michigan, passed away May 10, 2023, in Zeeland, Michigan. Darlene is survived by her husband of nearly 50 years, Patrick; her sister, Maureen (John) Sterns; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Wayne Oakes, Barbara (Ronald) Fuerstnau, Michael (Debra) Oakes, Marleen (John) Goodrich, Eric Oakes, Elizabeth Gutierrez; as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, June 1, 2023 at 11 AM at St. Dominic Catholic Church. For those who wish, memorial contributions to Van Andel Institute (specify for Alzheimer’s Disease Research) are appreciated. To share a memory or to sign her guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com