Clare County Review & Marion Press

Obituary: Darlene E. (Lear) Schunk

On Thursday, May 4, 2023, Darlene E. (Lear) Schunk, loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, passed away at the age of 89, surrounded by family. She was born June 21, 1933, to Carl and Elsie Lear in Oil Hill, Kansas. The family moved to the Clare area when she was six years old and would later graduate from Clare High School. Darlene met her future husband, Ron, at a friend’s gathering. She was fond of saying she saw him from across the room and said to herself, “I am going to marry that man.” They married on Oct. 15, 1955, at the Clare United Methodist Church. Darlene learned the role of farmer’s wife quickly. Together they raised four sons and one daughter. They loved and were proud of all their children. Together Darlene and Ron owned and operated the family farm, Schunk Farm Supply, the House of Flavors Restaurant and, later in life, Crazy Kettle Corn. Darlene was also employed at Central Michigan University in the food services program. In her spare time, she loved visiting and making meals for family and friends. She loved flower gardening. She was a member of the Clare Methodist Church, local Farm Bureau group, and supporter of 4-H and all school activities.

Darlene is survived by her children Byron (Jennifer); Lee (Bobbie); Diane (Kurt) Kolka; Jeff (Deb); and Max (Joan); 15 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren; her sister-in-law, Darylene (Ed) Pennington of Missouri. She was preceded in death by her parents; Ron, her husband of 66 years; and siblings Homer; Harold; and Juanita (Lene) Green.

Visitation will be held on Thursday, May 11, from 4-8 p.m. at the Stephenson-Wyman Funeral Home. Funeral will be held at Clare United Methodist Church on Friday, May 12 at 11 a.m. with Pastor Connie Bongard and Pastor Lane Van officiating. Burial will take place at Cherry Grove Cemetery. A luncheon at the church will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Darlene to Careline Hospice, My Michigan Health Care Volunteer Program, Clare United Methodist Church or the Alzheimer’s Association.  On-line condolences may be left at

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