Darlene Eileen (Boadle) Yeager, was born in March of 1943 to Clifford and Helen (Daniels) Boadle. She was raised with her two brothers, John and Jim, who preceded her in passing. Darlene lived for a long 79 years surrounded by family until her death on January 16, 2023.
Darlene grew up on a ranch outside of Augusta, where she aided her mother in household chores while her dad and brothers tended the ranch. She was always willing to step in and help them work cows or put up hay when needed. At the young age of eleven, Darlene lost her mother to an asthma attack. This left her to take over the household responsibilities like laundry, cleaning and cooking.
The death of Helen left all of the family with new responsibilities. Darlene would always chuckle as she recalled her older brothers attempting to do her hair or the grief they caused her with their teasing and pranks. As difficult as the transitions following Helen's passing were for the family, there was never a complaint from Darlene.
Through trial and error over the years, she came to master these tasks and grew to be well respected for her cooking. Some say it seemed as though she could turn out a meal for 100 people without breaking a sweat. She was like the Bob Ross of cooking, turning "happy little mistakes" into tasty dishes. She can be quoted on several of these instances where her recipes went astray, saying, "nobody will even know the difference."
Not only was she locally famous for her cooking, but she was an extremely handy seamstress and even went on to receive a sewing certificate. Her daughter speaks of a time when Darlene must have cranked out around 60 handmade western shirts in a month. You could see these shirts displayed proudly on her kids' chests throughout their childhood.
In high school, she became smitten with a young Harold Yeager. These two would soon find themselves married on November 5th, 1960 and would remain happily so for 62 years. Later, in their first year of marriage, they welcomed their first son, Cody. Only one year later, they gave birth to their second son, Lane, and in the fall, five years later, they welcomed their daughter, Nikki.
Darlene and Harold lived on the Yeager family ranch west of Choteau. Darlene shared a very close relationship with her in-laws, Harry and Helen Yeager, who wholeheartedly welcomed her into their family. Her husband Harold recollected when they were sitting in the bank asking for a loan after he broke his leg. The banker looked at his casted leg and asked, "well, how's he gonna do any work?" His father, Harry Yeager, looked over at Darlene, then back to the banker and said with absolute certainty, "She'll take his place."
Stepping in where she was needed was never an issue for Darlene. She wore whatever hat she needed to get the job done. She was known to wake up at the crack of dawn to help with chores before coming in to cook breakfast for the crew, repeating this for lunch and supper.
As a mother, Darlene was very involved in her children's extracurriculars. She can be remembered attending games, hauling kids to rodeos and horse shows, helping with 4-H, and driving jr. high girls to basketball games. She raised her children to a standard she knew would take them to become the accomplished individuals they are today.
After selling the ranch in 1994, Darlene worked several jobs to help bring in a little extra income. She worked as an EMT, as the District 3 High School Rodeo secretary, at Breen Oil, the Circle N, the Trading Post, and served as a bookkeeper for the Repair Shop until they sold it in 2019.
Throughout her life, Darlene was also a very active member of the community. She was a significant contributor to the Teton County Cattlewoman, serving them since they were still called the Cow Bells. One of her final contributions to the group was a beef-to-school program that has put local beef and bison on the trays of Choteau students for the past five years. She always happily volunteered with the Methodist Church, shared her culinary expertise by judging at the 4-H fair, served as president of the Skyline Lodge Retirement Home board, helped establish the pavilion, and performed countless other acts of service to her community and the people around her. She did all this and still had time to earn her green belt in Taekwondo (which we'll assume she sewed herself).
She loved her grandchildren, of which she had 8, and was elated at the birth of each of her six great-grandchildren. These grandchildren knew her as Nana or Grandma D, and she was blessed to know and hold all, including the newest member Lani Jo.
She had an incredible ability to light up a room with her contagious laughter. You will seldom find a picture without her giving a full smile, whether she was posing or not. Alzheimers is a terrible disease that takes so much from its victims, but it is common knowledge that there was a heck of a lot of fight wound into her little body. Try as it might, this awful disease was never able to take away her joy of being around people and making them smile.
A good laugh was always appreciated in her household. Her kids can recall several April Fools breakfasts that included extra salty scrambled eggs or unslice-able pancakes. Community members can validate her ability to make light of situations or crack jokes whenever an opening appeared.
As we remember Darlene, let us keep a few things in mind. Let us live life as she did, notice the beautiful things and take the time to acknowledge them, surround ourselves with loved ones, take joy from the laughs and smiles of those around us, and always be a positive force in everything we do.
Darlene is survived by all who knew and loved her but especially her family: her husband, Harold Yeager; her children and their spouses, Cody (Clella), Lane (Bev), Nikki Ley (Mike); her grandchildren, Calon, Chelsee, Logan, Tate, Charley, Darby, Garret, and Tori; and her great-grandchildren, Kyona, Kyler, Justyce, Rusch, Caysen, and Lani.
A celebration of Darlene's life will be held Monday; January 23, 2023 at 11:00 am at the Stage Stop Inn in Choteau with reception following. A private interment will take place later in the day. In Lieu of flowers please make donations to the Darlene Yeager Memorial at the 1st Bank of Montana in Choteau.
Condolences may be left on-line at www.gorderjensenfuneralhome.com