STEVENSVILLE — Darlene Grove was born Darlene Barbara Lowry to Albert and Lona on Aug. 30, 1931, along the Humboldt River near Frenchman’s Ford. She shed her earthly bonds and drifted away from her Stevensville home in the Bitterroot Valley on the crisp sunny morning of Jan. 11, 2021, in peace and quiet strength.
Darlene was an independent thinker with an adventurous spirit well ahead of her time. As a young woman this sense of adventure drew her from her childhood home in Nevada to Juneau in the Territory of Alaska. There she worked as a teacher and met her husband, John, who has been her faithful companion for 63 years. Darlene and John began their married life in Cordova, Alaska. As a young bride, Darlene relished life on Prince William Sound and the mouth of Copper River. While at Cordova she brought three children into the world. Darlene and John then moved to Montana where they continued to raise their children and have lived since 1962.
In addition to her duties as a mother and teacher, Darlene was a conservationist, a deeply committed environmentalist, and loving friend who carried herself with humility and grace. She was a liberal in the true sense; believing liberty and justice is advanced by people of good will who find compromise and cooperation through honesty and mutual respect. At every opportunity she committed herself wholeheartedly to the betterment of her communities and the world through involvement in local, state and national organizations and projects.
One of the great privileges and prides of her life was her active involvement as a representative of The League of Women Voters in the election of delegates and the call for and drafting of a new constitution for the state of Montana. The Constitution was ratified by the citizens of Montana on June 6, 1972 and remains the foundation of Montana’s government to this day. Those who knew her well will have no difficulty recognizing her influence and beliefs reflected in the preamble which reads. “We the people of Montana grateful to God for the quiet beauty of our state, the grandeur of our mountains, the vastness of our rolling plains, and desiring to improve the quality of life, equality of opportunity and to secure the blessings of liberty for this and future generations do ordain and establish this constitution.” Her work with those who shared these beliefs and commitments brought her a sense of peace and hope for the world and all humanity built on trust, honesty, and respect.
Her profound love for nature and unwavering commitment to the sanctity of all life on earth was reflected in every aspect of her life, particularly her steadfast and tireless work as a staunch conservationist and naturalist. She had an insatiable curiosity about the natural world, particularly geology and hydrology. She was especially dedicated to the preservation of wilderness and the integrity of wild watersheds which are the life blood of all communities of people and animals. Darlene’s only wish is that many will follow in her footsteps and will hold sacred the beauty of the natural world and share her commitment and ambition to protect it.
Memorial contributions and gifts can be sent to the Montana Environmental Information Center at P.O Box 1184, Helena, MT 59624-996, the Stevensville Senior Center, or a charity of your choice. Darlene had a deep concern for the welfare of her fellow citizens. In consideration of this, her family will have a celebration of her life when we can all travel and gather safely. The exact date is yet to be determined but will probably be this spring or early summer. Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.whitesittfuneralhome.com.