Darlene L. McWhirter

Darlene McWhirter

Darlene L. McWhirter, 91, died 05OCT2020, in Traer, Iowa, from complications of the Wuhan virus. Born 30AUG1929 to Henry and Minnie (Schrage) Voigts on their farm near Vilmar (north of Allison, Iowa), one of seven siblings. She graduated from high school in Allison, Iowa, in 1948, and later received a teaching certificate from Iowa State Teachers College (UNI). Her teaching career began in a one-room school house, teaching grades 1-8. She was united in marriage to Thomas (T.R.) McWhirter on 19JAN1951 at the St. John’s Lutheran Church her grandfather helped establish near Vilmar. T.R. was soon drafted for the Korean War, and the couple moved to Ft. Jackson near Columbia, SC. After T.R.’s discharge, they moved back to Iowa, living in Allison, Lansing IA, and eventually moving to Traer on Labor Day, 1954. T.R. acquired ownership of the Farmers Savings Bank in Traer, where Darlene worked part-time as a teller/clerk, as well as keeping their home and raising their children.

Darlene was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, the Traer United Methodist Church, Mt. View Lutheran Church in Phoenix, and many women’s groups. She and her husband wintered at their home in Phoenix, AZ, after his retirement, and she continued doing so after his death in 2006 for many years. A consummate cook, it was often said she could feed a multitude at the drop of a hat, a talent she learned as a young girl on the farm, constantly helping to feed seemingly countless siblings, cousins and threshers. This cooking talent was recognized in 1999 when her dill pickles were judged the best canned item of anything (not just pickles) presented at the Iowa State Fair that year. Her hospitality was well-known, with her door being open to friends and family at any time in both Traer and Phoenix, with her grand- and great-grandchildren being the light of her life.

Darlene was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, and all her siblings and cousins of her generation. She is survived by a son, Maurice (Tomomi) McWhirter of Traer; daughter Jane (Mike) Crisp of Herndon, VA; five grandchildren, LCDR Tom (Rebekah) Crisp, USN, of NAS Lemoore, CA; Kathryn (Jeff) Dockins of Edinburgh, Scotland; MAJ John (Brianna) Crisp, USA, of Ft. Leavenworth, KS; Kelley McWhirter of Asheville, NC; CPL David Crisp, USMC, of Camp Pendleton, CA; two great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life is being planned and will be announced once the current Wuhan virus situation has been resolved. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the American Legion Auxiliary, PO Box 1, Traer, IA 50675.