Darlene Blair Stewart, 83, a longtime resident of Bangs, passed from this life on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017 after a brief illness. A private memorial service with family was held on Saturday, Aug. 12 at Bangs Cemetery.

Darlene was born on July 5, 1934 in Fort Chadbourne to Cap and Arah Blair. She grew up in West Texas, eventually settling in Brownwood. She worked for her husband Gary’s construction company for many years, then became office manager of Greenleaf Cemetery in the 1990s. Darlene valued education, and she enrolled as a nontraditional student at Abilene Christian University in the late 1980s. She also carried an active real estate license and a pilot’s license.

One of her grandson Will’s fondest memories was flying a Cessna above Brown County piloted by his grandmother. Grandson Austin recalls many a weekend watching John Wayne movies and drinking real Dr Pepper. Granddaughter Jennifer remembers Jessie Hankins when she was misbehaving and eating dessert for breakfast on weekend visits to their Lake Brownwood home. After her daughter Glenna moved to Southeast Alaska, Darlene took the opportunity to visit. When youngest grandson David was born in 1998, she would fly up and stay months at a time, shutting off her home utilities not knowing when she would return. David had a special bond with his Nana, for all the invaluable one-on-one time she spent with him.

Darlene was a free spirit and fiercely independent. She marched to the beat of her own drum, knowing that being different was OK at a time when society said it wasn’t. Her life was rich with memorable experiences, if not rich in superficial things, and seemingly had no regrets.

Darlene is survived by a son, Bill J. Stewart, and wife Dora, of Brownwood; a daughter, Cheryl S. Hodes, of Flagstaff, Arizona; and a daughter, Glenna J. Summers and husband Clay of Abilene. She is survived by a sister, Charlene Tedford of Brownwood. She also leaves behind grandchildren, Will, Jennifer, Austin, and David, and a number of nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Cap and Arah; and her brothers, Kenneth and James.