Darlene (Winkler) Fuller, 64, passed away Thursday, July 27, 2022, and the world lost a great one with the passing of Dee, “Well behaved women seldom make history.” She was born Dec. 10, 1957, to Ed and Betty Winkler, in Norwich, Conn. Darlene came into this world to blaze her own path, and burn bright she did.

A fearless child and teenager who was not afraid of the unknown, or the unconventional, she often chose the road less traveled but always picking up lifelong passengers along the way. As an adult, she tried her hand at more careers than can be counted. A diverse selection ranging from orange picking to pipe fitting and everywhere in between, always leaving on her terms (yet somehow amicably). However, it was in the restaurant industry where she finally met her calling. From bartender to managing some of the biggest restaurants in Windham County, Conn., to eventually owning her very own place, the landmark Rain Desert. Her natural wisdom, ability to have a connection and genuinely being invested in you, made her a success in business and more importantly in relationships and that was her greatest gift. The ability to connect with all walks of life, she could make a stranger feel like family and a combatant feel like an ally. She would not judge, only listen. Offer advice where and when needed, but never push it and she would sacrifice her comforts for your well-being. In 2005, she sold the Rain Desert, packed up her faithful dog, Dingo and embarked on her next great adventure as she moved to Wyoming, to be with the love of her life, Tom. They would eventually move to Deary. It would not take long for Darlene to ingrain herself with the locals, becoming a popular member of the town and Queen of the Busy Bees, a local club that supports the community through neighborly acts of kindness. A calling dear to her heart, they gave her an outlet to continue her unofficial mission of making the lives of those around her better.

At the core of Darlene was family and she was everyone’s favorite cousin, aunt and sister. Her distinct and pure laughter would cut through even the busiest of family get-togethers. Mostly, she was the mother of two boys, who were beyond fortunate to grow up with her as an example of how to treat people. Though there were lean periods, it never felt that way. She always made the toughest times feel like an adventure. No matter the circumstances, there was always the security of a mother’s love. It was only fitting that they were able to be with her as she left this world and show her the same love and peace of mind she had always provided for them.

Darlene was not a religious person but did believe in — for lack of better words — cosmic energy. She felt that what you put out into the universe would come back to you, especially when you needed it the most.

She was preceded into the cosmos by her beloved parents, Ed and Betty. She is survived by her sons, Tom and Adam; their spouses, Heidi and Jess; her adored grandchildren, Sam and Lenore; and siblings and spouses, Mike and Phylis, Eddy and Kit, Kathy and Mike, David and Pat, Paul and Mary Jane, and Christy and Jana. She is also survived by 10 nieces and nephews; her stepchildren, Melissa and Derek; her husband, Tom; his children, Hans and Carl; Carl’s wife, Megan, and their children. Mostly, she leaves behind the thousands of connections and friends she made along the way. So many lives touched in such a short amount of time.

Please join our community for a celebration of Darlene’s life to be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, in the fellowship hall, at Zion Lutheran Church, 302 Idaho St., Deary. In lieu of flowers or donations, she would want you to be nice to somebody, make someone’s day better — no matter how large or small, friend or stranger — and to just make the effort to care for someone.

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