Former State Senator Darlene Claire Watne, 77, Minot, died Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, in a Minot hospital following a battle with cancer. Darlene served in the North Dakota House of Representatives, the N.D. Senate, and as a Ward County commissioner. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Clair, who passed away July 30. They are dancing in heaven right now.
Darlene and Clair loved living at the lake, where they enjoyed nature and entertaining guests. At the cabin and in town, Darlene enjoyed creative interests including arts and crafts, broken glass mosaics, woodcarving (even whole totem poles!), sewing, and cooking. She loved to read and correspond with friends and family.
We will really miss your letters, Grandma Dar.
Darlene was born Feb. 11, 1935, to Charles and Ann (Fjeld) Widdel. The Fjeld and Widdel families were some of the first settlers to homestead the South Prairie near Minot. Darlene was a 1953 graduate of Minot High School and proud to be a lifelong Minot resident. As a young adult, "Snookie" was employed at the Minot Post Office and KXMC Television Station, where she served as an executive secretary. She was also employed as a secretary at Watne Realtors, where she met her future husband, Clair. They married on March 25, 1954.
Darlene and Clair were the proud parents of four children: Carmen (Daniel) Boggs, of Everett, Wash., Steven (Karine) Watne, of Edina, Minn., Nancy (Duffy) Mitchell, of Seattle, Wash., and Matthew Watne, of Minot; Darlene's grandchildren include: Michael and Matthew Hadreas; John, Patrick and Duffy Mitchell; Claire, Emily, Khloe', Kamille and Mitchell Watne. She is also survived by her brother, Michael Elliot, and half brothers Craig and Tracy Widdel.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; and brother, Richard.
Ever the mother, Darlene did not return to work until her children entered school. She was employed at The Minot Daily News as an executive secretary for Raymond Dobson for many years and at Reed's Moving and Storage. She returned to school at Minot Business College and received specialized training as a legal secretary and court reporter. She became the president of the school and was instrumental in expanding the course offerings. She was a court reporter for Judges Roy Ilvedson and Jon Kerian from 1975 until 1990. In addition, she co-owned and operated Watne Realtors with her husband, Clair, and was licensed in 1990 as a real estate broker. She worked as an active broker at Watne Realtors through 2001.
Darlene was a former member of the boards of directors of the Minot Symphony Orchestra, Salvation Army, American Red Cross and Girl Scouts of America. Over the years, she was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, Jayceettes, Elkettes, Rotary International, N.D. Court Reporters Association, N.D. Secretaries Association, and numerous other organizations in which she played an active role.
Through her careers, she received numerous awards, commendations and certifications. As a parent, she was active in PTA, Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts. Darlene had a lifelong commitment to Minot, her family, and the surrounding community.
Celebration of the life of Darlene Watne: Friday, Oc. 19, 2012, at 11 a.m. in First Presbyterian Church, Minot.
Interment: Rosehill Memorial Park, Minot.
Visitation: Thursday, Oct. 18, from 2 to 7 p.m., in Thomas Family Funeral Home, Minot.
Memorials: Are preferred to Minot Area Community Foundation, the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, or Trinity Hospital Foundation, Minot.
Those wishing to sign the online memorial register or share memories and condolences are invited to use the expressions of sympathy section at (www.thomasfamilyfuneralhome.com).