Darlene Helen Freiberg passed away peacefully on October 15, 2021, at age 67 in Wausau, Wisconsin. Born on July 29, 1954, in Adams-Friendship, Wisconsin, Darlene was the daughter of Henry Sr. and Helen Yustus. She was the youngest of five children; Henry Jr., Joseph, Richard, and Henrietta.
Growing up in the central Wisconsin countryside, Darlene loved animals, nature, and music. She moved to the Wausau area as a teenager and took an interest in playing the piano. After she graduated from Wausau West High in 1972, Darlene began working for a local insurance agency. Soon after, a mutual friend introduced her to Lyle Freiberg, who worked at an adjacent business, which just happened to specialize in pianos and organs. The pair were inseparable.
During their courtship, Darlene and Lyle moved to San Diego, California, where Lyle had family and had also been stationed while serving in the US Navy. The couple married on September 6, 1980. Within a few years, they welcomed a son, Zachary. Darlene adored southern California, and spent time at favorite sun-filled beaches, historic Old Town, picturesque Balboa Park, and visited many art and craft fairs at regional wineries. Yet, the call of their home state beckoned, and they returned to Wisconsin to be closer to both of their parents. Here she fell back in love with the four colorful seasons and they lived just a block from Lyle’s parents, Norman and Marian, in Wausau. Not long after, their second son, Casey, was born.
Darlene’s outgoing nature was contagious, and she had a close-knit circle of friends. She was down-to-earth, community-minded, and very supportive of her sons’ activities, which included the Boy Scouts, aviation, and the American Legion. She encouraged their spirit of adventure. She was also very creative and extremely talented. She enjoyed handcrafting unique home decor items and worked with different mediums, including wood, fabric and also liked to paint. She always had an entrepreneurial spirit and, with her interest in arts and crafts, sold many of her original creations. Darlene was the Manager of the Washington Square Specialty Shops in Wausau and then became an accomplished business owner. She had a flourishing gift shop for many years in the downtown area. She also enjoyed reading and creative writing and published a novel in 2007 titled “Abandoned Memories.”
Darlene was a devoted mother, a dedicated wife, and a true animal lover all her life. She and her family included many dogs, cats, and other pets in their home. She enjoyed traveling with her family, especially to California, where they spent time in San Diego, Julian, and Los Angeles, visiting with family and friends.
All who knew and loved her will deeply miss Darlene. She is survived by her husband, Lyle, sons Zachary and Casey, and sister Henrietta.
A memorial visitation will be held on Wednesday, October 27, 2021 at Restlawn Memorial Park, 235962 N Troy St, Wausau from 10:00 am to noon. A service officiated by US Navy Chaplin, Shane Freiberg will follow. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Darlene's name may be directed to the Marathon County Humane Society, 7001 Packer Dr, Wausau, WI 54401.