Darlene Roper

Our Lord called Darlene Roper, 64, home on February 6, 2019. She joyfully accepted having prepared her whole life for the moment she would meet her Creator.  She lived as a ball of love and vibrant energy that filled us all.  She served the Lord, her family and community with bountiful joy and she carried an appreciation for all things great and small. She was a life learner, spending time growing in her faith and obtaining a doctorate in Naturopathy. She ministered through music, marriage counseling and bible studies. Many experienced her selfless, nurturing, and joyful nature. It came in the form of cooking, encouragement, laughter, advice and a listening ear during hair cuts in her salon, or dropping everything to serve someone else’s needs. She seemed to have bountiful energy when it came to serving others.  She truly lived every day with love, passion, patience and a virtuous nature.

Darlene was born in Detroit, MI on June 15, 1954 into a big, loving Lebanese family with 8 siblings, the youngest daughter and second youngest child of parents Philip Rhodes Thomas and Jemelia Mary Habib. Her family moved to northern Michigan while she was in high school. She met her husband, Mike, in 1973 (motorcycle ride…she was late) and married in 1976.  Together they created a close family in Gaylord: daughter Jamie Mellein and Gabe Mellein with children Aurora and Noah, son Christopher and girlfriend Jennifer Weaver, and daughter Aubrey McCready and Aaron McCready.  She also leaves siblings David, Dolores, Diane, Denise, Debbie, and Douglas as well as 34 nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents, sister Dorothy and brother Danny.

While her family was large, it was exponentially greater as she developed deep and meaningful relationships with everyone she met. All were welcomed into the Roper home as family, and always will be.

A Prayer service will be held at St. Mary Cathedral in Gaylord, MI on Friday, February 15, at 7:00 pm (gathering will start at 6:30).  A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Mary Cathedral on Saturday, February 16, at 10:00 am. The family will receive friends beginning at 9:00 am, followed by a celebration of life in the Parish Hall.  Bring fun stories of Darlene with you!

Memorial Contributions in honor of Darlene are also welcomed to meaningful charities to her: New Life Pregnancy Center & St. Mary’s Catholic Church (https://www.stmarycathedral.org/online-giving)


  1. Suzannne H Scott February 7, 2019 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    Our Parish has lost a leader, friend and a servant. We will miss you immensely. Rest in Peace my dear friend.

  2. Pat Bob Makins February 7, 2019 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    Dearest Darlene, you will be missed by many.
    You have touch so many with your caring heart.
    Sending prayers to Mike and you family.

  3. Jackie Warren February 7, 2019 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    So sorry to hear of Darlene’s passing. We have lost a good neighbor, friend, soloist and parishioner much too soon. I will miss her smile, she was beautiful example of a true Christian. Rest joyfully in God’s Peace…prayers to Mike and the family!

    Jim and Jackie Warren
    Michael Davis

  4. Mary Jedlowski February 7, 2019 at 5:53 pm - Reply

    Darlene was a beautiful,faithfilled friend and I will miss her terribly. My condolences to the Roper family.

  5. John & Jan Lake February 7, 2019 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    Mike, Jamie, Christopher, Aubrey and family,

    We were deeply saddened to hear of your loss.

    Darlene was radiant and passionate about her faith, family and friends. She will be missed by all who had the privilege of knowing her❤️

    Please know we are here for you now, and in the days ahead.

    In love and sympathy,

  6. Linda and Ken Raden February 7, 2019 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    God gained another angel this week. We lost a beautiful soul, Darlene Roper. We will miss you, but will remember the many times we had together in Gaylord and Florida. Condolences to Mike, Jamie, Christopher and Aubrey.

  7. Jodie Samkowiak February 7, 2019 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    Dear Mike and Family.

    We are so very sorry for your loss. Darlene was a kind and beautiful person with the voice of an angel. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Jodie and Tim Samkowiak
    Norman Samkowiak

  8. Kathi Kelly February 7, 2019 at 9:33 pm - Reply

    Darlene was such a wonderful example of reaching out to others using her faith and the gifts that God blessed her with. I will certainly miss her smile and beautiful voice.

  9. Angelo & Susan Genovesi February 8, 2019 at 7:16 am - Reply

    Oh Dearest Darlene…we will miss you so much. You have left many with warm, loving thoughts and broken hearts. Heaven is a better place for having received you.
    Mike and family, we are so sorry for your loss. Darlene was loved and will be very missed.

  10. Jim & Barb Lappan February 8, 2019 at 8:31 am - Reply

    Mike and Family – Barb and I are saddened to read of Darlene’s passing. Our continual thoughts and prayers for you during this time of grieving. May all who knew Darlene hold memories, especially her smile, and love for humanity, close.

  11. Jeanne and Mike Freymuth February 8, 2019 at 9:08 am - Reply

    Dear Mike, Christopher, Jamie, Aubrey and Family,

    Our deepest sympathy in your loss. The “Great Exchange” won’t be the same without Darlene to lead us in finding just the right color and style. She had the gift. We’ll miss her happy, smiling face at Euchre Club for sure. No matter where our many paths crossed, Darlene brought immense love and inspiration. She was an angel on earth and caringly touched so many. We share deeply in your sadness and miss her greatly.

    Our thoughts and prayers,
    Jeanne and Mike

  12. Jamie & Jim Hardesty February 8, 2019 at 10:36 am - Reply

    We are so sad and sorry to hear of Darlene’s passing. She was always such a bright light shining in this world, and there are so many fond memories of growing up with the Roper family around. You are all in our prayers.

  13. Paige Allyn February 8, 2019 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    Darlene’s passing is a great loss in the lives of her family and many friends. She was always concerned with what she could do for others. She was rarely seen without a smile on her face. You are missed my friend.

  14. Bernie and Cindy Bobola February 8, 2019 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    Dear Mike and family, our hearts are breaking and it’s hard to catch our breath. There are no words to express how we feel right now, but know we share your sorrow, pain and loss. Since the first day I saw you two together in 1972, I knew you were a match made in Heaven. May God continue to watch over Darlene and you all…as he always has. All our love during this difficult time and always.
    Bernie and Cindy

  15. Chuck and Mary Fain February 8, 2019 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    Dear Mike, Jamie, Christopher and Aubrey – The angels did indeed welcome a new member to their song. We were blessed to have Darlene in our lives and so saddened to hear of your loss. Our prayers and thoughts are with all of you.

  16. BETTY MOORE February 8, 2019 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    Our loss is Heaven’s gain. Darlene’s warm and loving personality will be greatly missed. Holding you all in my prayers.

  17. Bruce B Moulton February 8, 2019 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    Mike and family so very sorry for your loss. It was always a joy playing euchre with her.

  18. Mickie Thomas February 8, 2019 at 8:58 pm - Reply

    My hearts breaks for all of Darlene’s family! She was an incredible Lady! So blessed that I knew her and could call her my friend

  19. Janice and Daryl Chapel February 8, 2019 at 9:29 pm - Reply

    Mike & Family,
    Darlene was always a beautiful person in every way. We will keep all of you in prayer. Please accept our condolences.

  20. Kevin Charania and family February 8, 2019 at 11:53 pm - Reply

    Wow what a shock. I am so sorry for the loss of a great women. Darlene you will be missed here on earth. I have to say that I am devastated about the news.
    I have always considered Darlene as a mom, sister, and best friend. Ever since I met her in 1981 she has always had a place in my heart and my thoughts. I am so happy to have known her and been part of her family. I can actually say that Darlene gave me the start of my religion in my life. Love to you all. My thoughts and prayers go well out to Mike, Jaimie, Robert, and Aubrey. Love you all.

    • Cathy Pearce February 9, 2019 at 6:35 am - Reply

      She started me on the faith-filled journey as well! Now an angel to watch over us. What a shock!!

  21. Bonnie Johnson February 9, 2019 at 12:59 am - Reply

    Dear Mike & your beautiful family, I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful & loving wife, mother & grandma. Darlene gave so much & loved to share her “gift” of being able to help others feel & be their most beautiful. My sympathy & prayers go out to all of you. She was an exceptional person who lived her faith.

  22. Heatherlee Yorty February 9, 2019 at 6:04 am - Reply

    Darlene and I went to Kindergarden together. We were lifelong bosom buddies. We shared our lives with each other and gave each other strength. I awoke this morning to Darlene laughing in my face because she had chocolate all over her lips. Her laugh was wonderful, it was always full of the joy of The Lord. I thought our prayers would give her more time on this earth to bless others with her LOVE for YESHUA/JESUS, but ADONAI’s choice is sovereign, complete, perfect and final. He gives HIS Shalom peace. “In this world you will have trouble and sorrow. But take heart!💜💝 I have overcome the world.”

    See you in Heaven, Darlene, my Dear Lifelong Friend🌈 Well Done!, thou Good and Faithful Servant of The Lord!!👏👏

    My prayers for her same strength in “our” God go to you Michael, Jamie, Christopher and Aubrey, grandchildren and extended family.

    The LORD bless you and keep you: The LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you: The LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26 RSV)

  23. Heatherlee Yorty February 9, 2019 at 6:29 am - Reply

    I blow the Shofar in honor of your eternal home-going!, My Beloved Friend…. It is bitter-sweet.

  24. Cathy Pearce February 9, 2019 at 6:53 am - Reply

    Darlene’s love of poetry and rhyme
    we’re but a sampling, in a moment of time,
    of the art and beauty of her life’s design
    That affected so many lives, including mine.

    Darlene, you were a guiding star
    A radiant being beyond most. You are
    no longer bound by earth and miles.
    Forever, I will remember your radiant smiles.

    Love wins!

  25. Paul and Teresa Koronka February 9, 2019 at 7:20 am - Reply

    Darlene, you have the voice of an Angel and now we have no doubt you’re singing with the God’s angels in heaven. We will miss you soloing at Mass, your beautiful smile and giving heart.

  26. Larry Stuck February 9, 2019 at 7:35 am - Reply

    Darlene has always had a beautiful soul. She will be missed. My condolences to her family.

  27. Lynnette LaHahnn February 9, 2019 at 10:29 am - Reply

    Darlene, you will be missed not only as a Naturopathic colleague, but as a friend and lover of Nature! I look forward to sharing our adventures and encouraging words when our paths cross again. Until then…… enJOY your re-birth!

  28. Rosalie and Fred Haring February 9, 2019 at 10:43 am - Reply

    We are sorry to hear of Darlene’s passing. She was a great lady and friend. We are happy to have spent time will her in Frankenmuth this past summer. She will be missed. Our condolences to all of her family.

  29. Tom Crowe February 9, 2019 at 10:57 am - Reply

    My heart and love goes to all of you. I am so sorry about your loss. What a blessing Darlene was, beautiful memories will abound because of her life.

  30. Pamela Hirzel February 9, 2019 at 3:21 pm - Reply

    I was so saddened to hear about Darlene’s passing. She was a truly beautiful person who will be missed by all that knew and loved her. My prayers go out to you her much loved family.

  31. Marty and Terry Day February 9, 2019 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    Dear Mike and Family,
    Our hearts ache for you. Darlene sprinkled sunshine wherever she went touching more lives then any of us will ever know. I pray you find peace in knowing those who knew her share the weight of your sorrow and are truly blessed she touched our lives.

  32. Tom & Debi Collison February 9, 2019 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    Today the Lord received a very special angel. We are so sadded for your loss. Darlene was a beautiful person not only on the outside, but also the inside. Our prayers go out to her friends and family.

  33. Jessica DeFeyter February 9, 2019 at 8:38 pm - Reply

    My heart is breaking. Darlene was a very bright spot in my life and l thank God for her presence. Love and prayers to her family. RIP my friend!

  34. Randy Reszka February 9, 2019 at 9:56 pm - Reply

    We are very sorry to hear this shocking news. I’ll remember the wonderful times we played jazz and Christmas tunes together. Sandy and I wish Mike and family well. We are blessed to have known Darlene!

  35. Douglas Squires February 10, 2019 at 8:00 am - Reply

    Darlene was such a beautiful, loving soul, with the biggest smile around. She will be missed by all of us. My prayers go out to Mike and the kids. I’m sure she’s already joined the choir of angels in heaven. Love you my friend.

  36. Anita Bills February 10, 2019 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    Dear Mike & family, So sorry for your loss of such a beautiful woman, wife, mother & friend. Our 1st meeting being a 21 day motorcycle trip to Nova Scotia! What a great memory as we shared the days awesome experiences, meals, poems & toasts together each day. We have enjoyed Darlene’s Christmas letters each year since. Although our time together since has been minimal, we recall her kind heart & gracious spirit often. She will certainly be missed. It was a blessing to have know her.
    Rick & Anita Bills

  37. Margaret Albert February 11, 2019 at 10:11 am - Reply

    Dear Mike and family,
    Jerry and I are shocked and saddened to hear of Darlene’s death. We were blessed to meet both of you at the Lebanese dinners we had. Kindred hearts for sure. Darlene was such a wonderful positive person. We’re blessed for knowing her. Sincerely, Jerry and Margaret Albert

  38. Diana & Guenter Hennig February 11, 2019 at 11:00 am - Reply

    It was providential to visit you in Gaylord last July so we still have fresh memories of you. It was a short and happy time that we had together, especially with Darlene. She is in the arms of the Lord now and we are happy for her and sad for you and us to have lost her.
    Darlene and I started our friendship sharing Scripture. We spent many hours and days doing just that sharing the Word of God and its meaning in our daily lives. I believe Malachi 3:16 was fulfilled.

    With much love, Diana & Guenter Hennig

  39. Dave Thomas February 11, 2019 at 11:41 am - Reply

    Nothing more can be said of the love my sister radiated throughout her life. Thank you to all who responded. I will miss my little sister.

  40. Dave Thomas February 11, 2019 at 11:49 am - Reply

    Nothing more can be said of the love my little sister radiated throughout her life to church, community, friends and family.
    Thanks to all who responded. I will miss her so much. Now we must pray for her husband, Mike, to pull him through this loss.
    All the best to Mike his children and grandchildren.
    Dave Thomas

  41. Diana Deerfield February 11, 2019 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    Dear, Mike, Aubrey, Jamie and Christopher

    I am so sorry for your loss. Darlene was truly one of the most beautiful Women I have ever known. I feel blessed to have known her and called her friend. She lived life with such passion and had such an incredibly beautiful, compassionate, giving heart. Her love for her family was evident and I cherish the times we spent sharing stories about our families. Darlene was a blessing to everyone she met and you always felt better after having spent time with her. Her smile could light up a room.

    She lived her faith and was an example to us all. She will be dearly missed.

    Praying for comfort and peace for all of you.
    Diana Deerfield

  42. Art and Marcia Smith February 11, 2019 at 11:20 pm - Reply

    Dear Mike, Jamie, Christopher and Aubrey; words cannot express how Darlene touched our lives and anyone who knew her. We sang together, had our children at the same time, went to marriage encounter together as well as sharing so many prayers and life experiences together. She made a difference in our lives and leaves a shining light in our hearts. We’re sorry we’re in Florida but you all will be in our prayers on Saturday and forever. We look forward to seeing you Mike when we return to Michigan in May. Blessings to you all, Art and Marcia Smith

  43. Ruth Smolarz February 12, 2019 at 11:22 am - Reply

    I remember meeting Darlene, in the seventies, at a motorcycle safety class and again when I joined St. Mary’s Church. I had attended the same religious program the church held. She was always so nice to talk to, she will surely be missed.

  44. Kelly & Eddie February 13, 2019 at 6:24 am - Reply

    Heaven has gained a beautiful angel. Darlene was such a powerhouse of love and life. Her smile and laugh were very contagious and when she hugged you you felt her loving friendship. She never hesitated to help out in any way she could. Sharing recipes and natural health wisdom. What a wonderful friend and sister in Christ Darlene has been to myself and many many others. She will be missed but we will see you again soon my dearest Sister.

  45. Sandra Moore February 13, 2019 at 9:39 am - Reply

    Dear Mike & your beautiful family,
    Heaven has gained an angel with Darlene. Such a warm & loving person. I knew when I met her in 1974 that she was someone very special. And of course thrilled to have you as our summertime neighbor in Grayling. She has left a great legacy & has inspired all who knew her. Blessings to you and your family. Sandra Moore and Geno Mastroeni

  46. Anne McConnell February 13, 2019 at 10:17 am - Reply

    Mike and Family, our deepest condolences on the loss of your beautiful wife, Mother and Grandma. She loved her family so much and was such a beautiful person. We will be with you in Spirit on Friday and Saturday. May God give you strength and comfort in the coming days,

    Much Love,
    Anne and Bob

  47. Tom and Janette Brouwer February 13, 2019 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    Mike and family, Tom and I have heavy hearts from hearing your news. We enjoyed so much our travels with you both. It was a delightfor me to spend time with Darlene. Know that you are in our prayers! You are loved. Tom and Janette Brouwer

  48. Cousin Angelle February 14, 2019 at 10:32 am - Reply

    My angel cousin is now among all God’s angels.
    Darlene radiated a light when you were in her presence.
    Our last correspondence together was how blessed we are to be bonded in the love of our amazing family. Her love touched each and everyone of us.

    Rest In Peace Little One❤️

  49. Julie Battaglia February 14, 2019 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    My condolences dear cousins and Uncle. I love you all very much and will keep you in my prayers. Xoxo

  50. Kay Kujawa February 14, 2019 at 10:41 pm - Reply

    What a great Christian lady! She will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mike and family! So sorry we cannot attend the funeral mass.

  51. Sarah Blanchet February 14, 2019 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    Dear Mike, Chris, Jamie, Aubrey and family, Words can’t express how incredibly sorry I am for your loss. Darlene was one of the most beautiful, kind and loving women I have ever known. I feel so blessed to have had her friendship in my life. You are all so special to me and you will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  52. Michael and Lucy Mang February 15, 2019 at 7:38 am - Reply

    Darlene certainly touched many lives! And what a beautiful voice! She always added such lovely worship and praise to any service at St. Mary Cathedral. She will be greatly missed, even as memories of Darlene live on. We are holding you, Mike, and your whole family in our prayers.

  53. Yvonne Jurewicz February 15, 2019 at 11:50 am - Reply

    Mike, Jamie,Christopher, Aubrey & Cousins,
    We are praying for healing of your heartache and for God to bring you peace.
    Love & prayers,
    Yvonne & Marion (Larry)

  54. Wayne and Judy Miller February 15, 2019 at 11:59 am - Reply

    Mike and family. We are so saddened to read about your loss. We will always remember Darlene, her voice and her smile. And singing together at St. Mary’s and all of the other venue. In reading all of the comments of friends and family, it is clear that she was truly loved by many. We, regretfully won’t be there to be able to attend the services in Gaylord since we are at our Winter home. In Alabama. You and your family will be in our prayers.

  55. Vince LaRosa February 15, 2019 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    Mike and family,

    My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time of loss. Darlene was a very nice person and used to cut my hair. She will be greatly missed.



  56. Marie Hahnenberg February 16, 2019 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    I am so saddened to hear the news that Darlene passed away. She was an incredible woman who helped women understand more about their fertility as one of our Natural Family Planning Instructors in the Diocese of Gaylord. She will be greatly missed.

  57. Bernie and Cindy February 17, 2019 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    Dear Mike and Family,
    Thank you for providing a ” Celebration of Life ” for Darlene yesterday. It will be a day not easily forgotten or wished to be forgotten.
    From the greeting of family and friends…Mike carrying the ashes of Darlene and carefully setting them on a table in front of the Altar …Jamie, Christopher and Aubrey singing and talking about their Mom…the Pastor from Traverse remembering Darlene in such a personable way…brother Doug playing ” Ave Maria ” beautifully under the worst kind of conditions…the absolutely wonderful meal prepared and served by friends of St, Mary Cathedral …the slide show which only scratched the surface of the life of Darlene Roper…and the videos of infectious laugh…all the stories and moments of life we shared with Darlene and the Ropers…some funny…some sad…but all heart felt and enjoyed. And finally to end the celebration, a Lebanese style dance per Darlene’s wishes. A dance where everyone joined hands and circled danced which was further explained by Jamie with Noah in arms and highlighted with Christopher’s enthusiasm.
    As Cindy and I were leaving and we hugged all of you and I said to myself ” okay ..find and hug Darlene and we’re outta here…” …completely forgetting the reason why we were there in the first place. A force of habit …to hug them all.
    Driving back to Pinckney, a thought, a feeling and an awareness came over me that Darlene had been hugging me ALL day. Darlene was hugging All of us yesterday during her Celebration of Life.
    Darlene appreciated life and she knew where to give thanks and praise …to God the Father, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior … and the Holy Spirit.
    Darlene sent to heaven with all out love,

    Cindy, Bernie Bobola and family

  58. Karen Blakely February 22, 2019 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    Please accept my heartfelt condolences on the loss of your beautiful wife. Even though the sting of death is hard to deal with right now, the Bible gives each and everyone of us the reassuring hope found at John 11:25, where Jesus promises us the resurrection, which he talked about and demonstrated while he was on Earth. This scripture allows us to see that death is not permanent and that soon you will be able to see your beloved family member again. Even though Darlene is asleep in death right now, she is no longer suffering and when she wakes up she will be in perfect health, living on a fully cleansed Earth, waiting to welcome back family and friends with open arms. I hope these words provide you with Comfort at this most difficult of times.

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