Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Darlene Mae Kula

HURLEY, Wis. - Darlene Mae Kula, 86, of Hurley, passed away suddenly, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019.

Darlene was born to Charles E. and Hilda A. (Maki) Lundquist on April 5, 1933, in Waukegan, Ill., where she was raised and attended school, graduating from Waukegan High School with the class of 1951. Darlene was so proud of her academic achievements in school. Throughout her early working years, Darlene was a dime store clerk, a telephone operator and then worked as a secretary for Abbott Labs in North Chicago, Ill., where she met her future husband, Richard Kula.

On Oct. 15, 1955, Darlene married Richard Kula. They had four sons. She was a homemaker; and when her youngest son started grade school, Darlene rejoined the workforce. For many years she was the parish secretary at Mother of God Catholic Church in Waukegan, a job she truly treasured. She later rejoined the Abbott Labs secretarial staff.

Darlene felt a strong calling and converted to the Catholic faith as a young adult. Throughout her adult life, Darlene was a deeply devoted and active member of the Catholic Church; and she drew her strength from Jesus and his Mother Mary. She followed the Lord's calling through her volunteerism as well as inspired others in their faith. She held leadership roles in the Legion of Mary, Christian Mother's Sodality and other Catholic Church groups from her parishes in Illinois, Louisiana, and St. Mary's, Hurley.

Darlene enjoyed many travels with her husband and family over the years. Upon the passing of her husband in 1997, Darlene felt the call of her Finnish roots. With the characteristic Finnish Sisu mentality, she designed and built a home and began her new adventure on her grandparents', Anton and Mary Maki, original farm property in Hurley.

For many years, Darlene enjoyed hosting annual summer "cousin" gatherings at her home. Darlene loved the Northwoods and treasured the times when her sons, their families, and friends visited. Her grandchildren loved to hear her tell stories from her life.

She enjoyed crossword and jigsaw puzzles and playing bingo at the Hurley Senior Center. Darlene channeled her competitiveness and strategic skills by playing cards and other games. She especially loved reading Hollywood autobiographies, watching old movies; and in her earlier years, knitting, crocheting, and crafting. She challenged her family with her extensive trivia and Jeopardy knowledge. Darlene loved to collect religious items and was especially proud of her Infant Jesus of Prague statue collection. She cherished making Christmas potica sweet bread and beaded ornaments to share with her extended family.

Darlene was an immensely kind and generous person who always thought of others. She was the family matriarch, "Queen Bee" to the end. Darlene's beautiful sparkling eyes reflected her passion for life, faith, family and nature. She leaves a legacy of inspirational strength. It is said that memories are a way to hold on to the ones we love, and Darlene left her family and friends with countless precious memories.

Darlene's insight to care for those in need and her ability to generously give of her time and monetary gifts are what made her so special.

Survivors include her sons, Edward J. (Connie) of Allen, Texas, Thomas W. (Robin) of Rockwall, Texas and Stephen G. (Joan) of Dover, N.H .; seven grandchildren, Francis Antao, Thomas C. Kula, Laura (Nate) Robitschek, Ben (Kristin) Kula, Gregory Kula, Danielle Kula and Matthew Kula; sister, Betty (Virgil) Koester of Green Bay; sisters-in-law, Betty Rygiel, Annette Jackson and Jean Kula; brother-in-law, Robert (Diana) Kula, and many loving cousins, nieces and nephews.

Besides her parents and aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, Darlene was preceded in death by her loving husband of 42 years, Richard J. Kula; son, Richard C. Kula; brother, Charles Lundquist; sisters, Marie Meldahl, Linda McCormick and Anita (infant); sister-in-law, Yumiko Lundquist and brothers-in-law, Phil Meldahl, Red Jackson, John Rygiel and Walter Kula.

Visitation will be at McKevitt-Patrick Funeral Home in Ironwood on Friday, Nov. 15 from 2 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. followed by a brief blessing and rosary. Afterward, coffee, desserts, and fellowship will be shared at the funeral home.

To join her husband, Richard, buried in Spring Grove, Ill., an additional visitation will take place Monday, Nov. 18 at Thompson Spring Grove Funeral Home in Spring Grove, from 4-7 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Spring Grove, Ill., with a burial service immediately following. Please join the family for a luncheon in St. Peter Parish Hall in Spring Grove following the burial.

The family would like to express gratitude to Dr. James Hubbard and the medical staff at Aspirus Ironwood Hospital.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Iron County Food Pantry at 72 Michigan Ave., Montreal, WI. 54550 or to the American Heart Association.

McKevitt-Patrick Funeral Home, Ironwood, is assisting the family. For more information or to express online condolences, visit