PORTAGE—Darrelle Roman LaBelle, age 70, passed away on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. He was born Feb. 4, 1948, to Gordon and Jeanette (Reuter) LaBelle. Darrelle served his country honorably in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968, during the TET Offensive, and his exposure to Agent Orange would result in lung cancer later in life. The war had a profound effect on Darrelle. It was this experience that made Darrelle value life, and he had two golden rules he lived by: 1) never go to bed angry and 2) never leave in anger. If anything happened, he did not want that to be his last memory.
He married Vicky Lynn Anderson, on July 20, 1968, and they were blessed to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Darrelle suffered a stroke the day after his 48th wedding anniversary. The legs that once enabled him to run like the wind in his youth, now struggle to take steps. Six weeks later, he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.
Darrelle is survived by his wife, Vicky; his son, Elliott (Tracy); grandsons, Jared LaBelle and Michael LaBelle; and granddaughter, Lilyanna Camren; sisters, Sally (Donnie) Ringelstetter, Karen (Norman) Esser, Joan Schneider, Janeen LaBelle; brother-in-law, Lloyd Marklein; and numerous nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sons, Ronald, Brent and Jason; brother, Leon LaBelle; sisters, Janice Marklein, Sara Schmitz and Sheila Disrud.
Darrelle leaves behind a legacy of a life lived honorably. His word was everything. He was honest and expected others to be honest with him. He always said he could accept the truth, that it was the “not knowing” that affected him most. He came from and era where a handshake meant commitment, where loyalty mattered, and where compassion for others meant something. He was slow to anger and quick to forgive and did not hold a grudge. To his coworkers, he left a legacy as an excellent carpenter. The voice that sang in that Frankie Valli falsetto is now quiet and the hands that worked so hard for so long are still.
The family wishes to thank the Indigo Team of Agrace Hospice for their loving and compassionate care they gave Darrelle in the last months of his life. Special thanks to Dr. Amy Schroder, and Bryan and Kathy Pierce. for the generosity shown Darrelle.
Funeral Services will be held for Darrelle at 11 a.m., on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, at ST. MARY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION CATHOLIC CHURCH in Portage. Father Gary Krahenbuhl will be officiating. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the services at the church. Burial will follow in the St. Mary Cemetery in Portage. Kratz Funeral Home in Portage (www.kratzfuneralhome.com) is assisting with arrangements.