Penwell Turner Funeral Home - Shelby, Ohio

Darlene Mae Rickens

Darlene Mae (Dunmyer) Rickens, age 79, of Shelby, died Friday, November 12, 2021 peacefully in her daughter’s arms and surrounded by family at Signature of Galion.

Darlene was born April 22, 1942 in Cresson, PA to the late Raymond and Mary (Lynch) Dunmyer. She was a 1960 graduate of Cresson Joint High School. Darlene spent her working career at Carton Service, from which she retired. She was a member of Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Shelby.

Darlene adopted her son, Jeff, and daughter, Tami, from the Toledo Catholic Charities in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. When asked why she adopted, she stated, “I had so much love to give.” Showing just how selfless of a woman she was.

Darlene was a hard worker, independent, and strong lady. She raised her three children by herself. She made sure her children never went without even if that meant working 3 jobs. That made Mother’s and Father’s Day special in our house as we celebrated both for her.

She had an open-door policy at her home! She always stated, “The more the merrier!” She had such an open and giving heart. She was called “mom” by many of her children’s friends and mom took care of them as their own. She had the “nobody is left out” policy at our home. She was loved by so many.

Thanksgiving was one of her favorite times of the year. She made sure to cook and bake for days to feed her entire family, something she loved to do. Spending time with her family was precious and meaningful to her.

Her house lights up every year for Christmas. Her Christmas tree decor changes every year, and EVERYONE gets gifts even her animals and her grand pups. It was gifts galore under her Christmas tree, so much, nobody could fit in the living room to sit down. She had the biggest and most giving heart to everyone she encountered.

A few years after she was diagnosed with dementia, you could find her wearing her Christmas turtleneck and sometimes socks all year round. Even in July, it didn’t matter Christmas was her favorite time of the year!

An avid football fan, she loved hosting Steelers parties every Sunday and Monday with family and friends. Mrs. Howerton, her friend and neighbor, was known to bring the bean soup and cornbread. She and her children, Jeff and Tami, didn’t miss a Steelers game together. Her favorite sport times legends were Joe Namath, Hines Ward, and Pete Rose. As you could see her bedroom walls covered in pictures of her favorite players. A collection of their sports memorabilia is such a treasure of hers.

She never missed a gymnastic event, softball game, football game or track meet. Her children asked, “How do you do it?” She would say, “I did a lot of running back and forth between the fields and the gyms.” She supported her children in all and everything they did.

After her grandchildren were born, nothing brought her greater joy than continuing to support and attend their school academic and athletic sporting events- cheerleading, football, and lacrosse. She was very proud of her grandchildren. In return the grandchildren have lots of great memories with their g-mal and grams. When the grandchildren thanked their g-mal/grams she would respond, “I wouldn’t miss it, let me know when your next one is.” Already planning to attend the next event.

A pocket full of mints/love and a freezer full of popsicles. She loved her mints and sharing them with her grandchild was her favorite thing to do. Of course, g-mal/grams would let them eat as many as they wanted while visiting and sent them home with a pockets full of mints/love for later.

Darlene joined her sister, Patty, and her friends from work to have dinner once a month. She thoroughly enjoyed spending time with her sister and friends.

Her love for animals was so great! She loved walked her dog daily! Her “open door” policy was not just for people, but for animals too. If she could have, she would have taken all animals home with her in a heartbeat to love and care for. She truly had so much love to give.

We would like to thank the nurses at Signature in Galion for providing the utmost professional, calming, and comforting care as mom was transitioning- especially Trina, Natalie and Olivia.

Thank you to Kindred Hospice Care nurse, Hannah, who guided us through the end stage of life.

Thank you, Penwell Turner Funeral Home, for making our final planning for mom’s funeral and forever see you later so smooth, easy and beautiful.

Goodbye, dementia! You no longer have a grip on our beautiful mom. She is free! We love you mom g-mal and grams!

Survivors include her children: Tom Rickens and Tami Friebel both of Shelby; daughter in law: Michelle (Lawrence) Rickens of Lewis Center; grandchildren: Amber, Linda, & A.J. Rickens, Aarika & Bryson Friebel, and Mason & Maddox Rickens; 3 great grandchildren; siblings: Wayne Dunmyer of NC and Patty Noel of Shelby; longtime friend: Dick Lamb; and numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends. In addition to her parents, Darlene was preceded in death by her son: Jeff Rickens; siblings: Raymond Dunmyer, Hugh Dunmyer, Bobby Dunmyer, & Beverly Shade; and brother-in-law, Frances Noel.

(This obituary was proudly authored by the family.)

Family and friends are welcome on Friday, November 19, 2021 from 5-7 pm at the Penwell Turner Funeral Home, 168 West Main Street, Shelby, where a rosary will be recited at 7 pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday, November 20, 2021 at 11 am at Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church, 29 West Street, Shelby. Fr. Chris Mileski will officiate. Burial will be in Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Cemetery, Shelby. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Mary School, 26 West Street, Shelby or The Richland County Humane Society, 3025 Park Ave W, Ontario.

Appropriate ways to express sympathy for those unable to attend may be done by leaving an online condolence on Darlene’s obituary at or by leaving a comment on her post on the funeral home’s Facebook page,

To view Darlene’s tribute video, follow this link provided:

Memories & Condolence

  1. Mindy Utz says:

    Darlene was my second mom, growing up. What a beautiful and loving woman. She truly treated me as her own. She almost always had a smile on her face that lit up her eyes and such a contagious laugh. I have so many wonderful memories of her over the last 45+ years that I will always cherish. I was so fortunate to spend time with her shortly before her passing. She may not have had a voice, but those beautiful eyes still shined. My heart is just broken. She is already so missed and still very much loved. I’m so blessed God put her in my life.

  2. Carole Bolden says:

    Darlene was such a sweet loving person I remember her open door and she always welcomed me in I am so sorry for your loss but I am glad she is free my thoughts and prayers are with all her loving family I know she loved you all so much ❤️

  3. Lynn Johnson says:

    It has been many years, but I have such great memories of Mrs. Rickens. She treated every one with such kindness and care. She made you feel special and part of her family. Her strength and drive as a single mom was always inspiring. To know her was a true blessing. Condolences to her family and friends.

  4. Sheila Stone says:

    Just want to tell the family of Darlene that her class, the class of 1960 Cresson joint high school, loved their write up about their beloved mother. Darlene was a much loved classmate and her classmates will be thinking of her and praying for her on Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, her favorite holidays.

    Sheila Flinn Stone. Class correspondent CJHS 1960

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