MADISON - Darlene Mary Olson, age 88, has passed away on Monday Jan.13, 2014 at home after a courageous fight with lung and breast cancer over the last several years. Since the first week of Nov., she was told the cancer had spread, and it was a no win situation. For the last month or more she has been cared for at home by Agrace HospiceCare, and by her husband and attentive children. She was so very brave, and she had a sense of humor up until the last week.

Darlene was born in Soldiers Grove, Crawford Co., WI, on January 4, 1926. She was the daughter of Oscar and Cannie (Fry) Dary. Some of her early years were spent in Viola and Richland Center WI, but most of her life was spent in the Madison/Monona area. She attended Silver Springs elementary school in the Town of Madison, and later West High School.

Dar (as many friends called her) was a home maker before she went out to work at a variety of jobs for different lengths of time. Darlene eventually worked as a lab technician at the Veterinary Science Dept. of the U.W Madison for nine years before she retired. She always donated her time for door to door charity/medical type collections. She enjoyed politics. Dar watched CSPAN, and MSNBC political topical shows religiously. She was active in the anti-Vietnam marches. Dar especially loved cooking for her family on all the Holidays. She made things special for the children even in the leanest times because she remembered those hard days of the Great Depression which hit her family so hard. When Dar was a child her mother became unfortunately ill with T.B and placed in a sanitarium for some time. Dar's mother also became terribly facially disfigured by a horrendous ear infection shortly after Darlene's birth; then, later in Dar's teenage years, Dar's mother got hit by a car and broke her back. Her mother always was a woman who maintained a special gentle kind caring disposition for her children (even over compensating). Darlene inherited this disposition from her mother. Darlene loved to gamble and eat at Ho Chunk each Friday night in her later years. She was an avid Packer fan. Reading novels was Dar's passion; she would read approximately 3-4 novels every two weeks.

She is survived by her husband and best friend Arthur; son Randall, son Gregory with wife Deborah, and their children Stephen and Kendra; Stephen's wife Lilian and sons Joel and Ethan, daughter Sherry Lentz and husband Richard with stepson Jim, and Sherry's daughter Meredith Wilson along with Meredith's husband, David and son Isaac. There are also numerous nephews and nieces.

Darlene was preceded in death by her son Gary Arthur Olson (a twin of Sherry) who died at the age of 50; her two brothers "Doc" Burcell Dary and Verlyn Dary, and her sister Eleanor Cass; her mother Cannie "Fry" Dary, and her father Oscar Harrison Dary.

Funeral service will be Monday, January 20th at 2:00 pm at Cress Funeral Home, 3610 Speedway Road, Madison, with Pastor Deborah Holbrook to preside. A visitation will be held from 1:00 pm until time of service.

If you want to give a memorial for Darlene, give a donation to the Madison Public Library Foundation, 201 W. Mifflin Street, Madison, WI 53703, and ask them to buy large print books for the seeing impaired. Darlene had macular degeneration. Another memorial choice for Darlene is a donation to the Agrace HospiceCare 5395 E Cheryl Parkway, Madison, WI 53711. Agrace HospiceCare did an outstanding job. It helped us mentally and physically; it lessened the anguish of Darlene's illness tremendously.

Please share your memories at

Cress Funeral and Cremation Service
3610 Speedway Road, Madison
(608) 238-343