Darlene Pankratz DeRosier, 89, of Kelso, WA, passed away peacefully and surrounded by family on April 17th, 2023.
Born April 15, 1934, in Longview, WA, to parents Alexander and Verna (Parrish) Pankratz, Darlene lived her entire life in the local area and attended Kelso public schools, graduating from Kelso High School in 1952 and obtaining an AA degree in Business Administration at Lower Columbia Junior College, now LCC.
In 1957, Darlene married Richard “Dick” A. DeRosier, and subsequently gave birth to three sons, Scott, Layne, and Neil. In addition to being a devoted wife and mother, Darlene was also co-owner of the family business, DeRosier Trucking Inc., and worked at the Cowlitz County Auditor’s office at which time she also served as Shop Steward and Secretary of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 1262.
Darlene was dedicated to a life of public service. She volunteered her time and skills with various service clubs, community, church, and school organizations. Darlene served as President, and Treasurer of the Cowlitz County Extension Homemakers Council and in 1966 was listed in Outstanding Young Women of America. She served on the FFA Agricultural Advisory Board and taught Sunday School at Kelso First United Methodist Church for 10 years. Darlene served as President of Kelso Junior Women’s Club, Vice-President of Kelso PTA, and Secretary for Kelso Babe Ruth. Darlene was a member of the March of Dimes and was Chairman of Mother’s March. Darlene was a member of Altrusa International, Toastmasters International, Ducks Unlimited, Pleasant Hill Grange, Kelso Kiwanis Club, and Kelso Public Schools Foundation.
In 1986, at the age of 52, Darlene began her political career with a successful run for public office. Darlene was elected Cowlitz County Auditor, serving 3 terms before her retirement in 1998. During her career in public office, Darlene served as Secretary-Treasurer and Vice-President of the Washington State Association of County Auditors, Co-Chair of the Auditor’s Licensing Committee, and was a member of the Title and Registration and Elections Committees. Darlene was very interested in United States History and government, and her travel itineraries often included historical sites and museums.
During her retirement years, you would find Darlene “Nanny” continuing her volunteer work, watching her grandchildren’s sporting events, antiquing, baking cookies, reading, and quilting with Castle Rock Senior Center Quilting Club. Darlene greatly enjoyed spending her summers fishing and adventuring at their cabin in Ninilchik, Alaska.
Darlene is survived by her husband of 66 years, Richard “Dick” A. DeRosier, her three sons: Scott (Lauren) DeRosier, Layne (Pamela) DeRosier, and Neil (Kelly) DeRosier. Grandchildren: Katie (Nick) Crowe, Andrea (Brian) Hoggatt, Cody DeRosier, Kalin (Tyler) Minium, Kacie (Eric) McDaniel, Cole DeRosier, Jenna (James) Kelly, and (Katherine) DeRosier. Great-grandchildren: Taylor, Lillian, Mack, Millie, Isabella, and Julian. Darlene was preceded in death by her parents, her brother Duane Pankratz, and Grandson, Justin DeRosier.
A memorial service for Darlene DeRosier will be held at 1pm, Tuesday May 16th at the Kelso First United Methodist Presbyterian Church, 206 Cowlitz Way, Kelso, WA 98626. Memorial donations in Darlene’s honor may be made to the Kelso Public Schools Foundation, P.O. Box 344, Kelso, WA 98626.