Darlene (Jones) Hatcher was born in Fort Wayne, IN on December 11,1931to Virgin Marie (Peak) Jones. Unfortunately, her mother passed away shortly after Darlene’s 5th birthday. She and her older siblings, the late Elizabeth “Betty” K. Jones and the late Guy “Sony” A. Jones, became wards of the state and were sent to live in the county children’s home. Eventually, Betty and Darlene were sent to the same foster parents while Guy was sent to live with another family. While their first foster home was not a nurturing environment, their second foster home, with of the late Wardell Wespon and Merriam Evelyn Warner-Wespon-Hill, was much more propitious. Under the guardianship of their foster mother, Mrs. Wespon-Hill, Darlene and Betty prospered and reached adulthood. The Wespons demonstrated that loving and caring for each other is what truly makes up family. Although the siblings never again lived together after their mother’s death, they managed to keep strong family ties and passed on to their children cherished childhood memories of their birth mother.
In high school, Darlene was proud to have achieved Central High School’s distinction of being its first Black majorette.
In 1951, she married Robert Hatcher, Sr. and had four children. She also worked as a technician at Magnavox, retiring after almost 30 years of service. She loved volunteering at church and praising the Lord. She was an active, lifelong member of Union Baptist Church. She especially enjoyed learning new obscure facts, spending time with children, and visiting the sick and shut in. She was a dedicated and wonderful mother and grandmother.
Even in the last era of her life, with her cognitive and memory abilities severely effected by Alzheimer disease, her personality never changed. Those around her always praised her kind and polite manner. Darlene held a strong commitment to social rules and customs. She was a proud citizen of Fort Wayne and never wished to live elsewhere; she cherished her community.
She is survived by her three children, Lititia Hatcher-Roque, Kamari Olushola (Kathryn) Mbwelera and Kimberly S. Hatcher, all of Fort Wayne; three grandchildren, Shayla (Deilvez Yearby) Hatcher and Jonathan Brownlee of Fort Wayne and Charita (Mark Thomas) Roque of Baltimore, MD and one great-granddaughter, Samarah Hatcher Yearby.
She was preceded in death by her mother, Virgin Jones; her foster mother, Evelyn Wespon-Hill; her siblings, Guy and Elizabeth Jones, Marva Macon, and Shirley and Wardell “Sonny”Hogan; her son, Daryl L. Hatcher; and her grandson, Jabari Mbwelera.
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