Darlene Gale Formento (Sullivan)
November 6, 1951 to April 29, 2022
Life was a struggle for Darlene from the very beginning. Born a preemie, November 6, 1951 to Matthew and Flora Formento, and raised in Anchorage, she made up for any shortness in stature (4’11”) by becoming a giant of a woman when it came to caring for others. Born with a congenital anomaly that left her partially paralyzed in adulthood, she put to use the gifts she had been given to help and serve others.
For Darlene, family came first. After graduating from Diamond High School in Anchorage, she married her high school sweetheart. She and hubby, spent a short stint in San Diego while he completed his tour of duty in the Navy. It was Here that their first child, Cammie Marie Sullivan-Brigman was born in 1971.
After returning to Alaska, their second child, James Shannon “Stubby” was born in 1973.
The purchase of “The Little House” on the second bend of Long Lake Road, opened a new chapter in Darlene’s life. She loved her little house. Most of the time a person rounding that corner, could hear music blaring from the front door. Darlene loved music and of course good music had to be played loud and clear. Darlene played the accordion. She was self- taught, playing by ear, and one could often see her sitting on the front porch with her accordion playing to the music on the stereo. One of her favorite performers was Cat Stevens. Along with great music, Darlene loved to just listen to local bands that played in the Valley as well as dancing to the music.
Darlene was a wonderful cook. During the early years of marriage and raising a family she had to prepare meals on a shoestring. She had fabulous recipes that community members looked forward to enjoying. Her family looked forward to her famous Monkey Rolls prepared Christmas eve and devoured Christmas morning. She loved sharing recipes and passed her love of cooking onto her daughter and granddaughter who continues with many of the traditional recipes they all enjoyed.
Darlene was hit hard emotionally in 2012 when her only son died prematurely in Azalea, Oregon due to the same genetic anomaly Darlene had.
In 1998, with her children gone from the nest and her marriage at an end, she moved to Wasilla where she purchased a very comfortable ranch home. Having everything on one level definitely made things easier for her and she was closer to doctors and services. She could now spend more time being a grandmother which she loved. Visits to South Carolina and time spent with her grandchildren was some of her happiest memories.
What started out as Darlene taking in a boarder who would be able to do handyman Jobs around the home, became a mutual and beneficial living arrangement for Darlene and her Life Partner. Each would be able to help the other which formed a companionship based on mutual love and respect.
Without her partner by her side, Darlene would have been completely homebound. Together they purchased a motorhome and took to the road taking in the great campgrounds throughout the State as well as the lower 48, and the summer music festivals.
Most recently, she could not stop her talking about the thrill she had being part of her daughter’s wedding. Being there when she tried on and made her wedding dress selection and then being able to dance at her wedding. She was so proud of her daughter and all the work that Cammie put into making the occasion a most memorable event.
She leaves behind her daughter, Cammie Sullivan Brigman, three grandchildren, Raith Sullivan, Blaize Hurst, and Kaiyda Hurst, her life partner, two brothers and one sister as well as aunts and uncles and many close friends.
To sum it up, Darlene was a simple woman with an enormous heart. She could light up a room with her laughter and smile. She had a zest for life, and love people. Most of all she loved making memories and took every opportunity to do so.
She will not be forgotten as friends and family renew her memory with food, music and love for family as she did.
As she would say, ” Mooches and Hugs”