Beloved Mother, Grandmother and Former Teacher
WATERBURY - Ms. Darlene Craft, 73, passed away on September 7, 2020 while surrounded by her family at her daughter, Marci’s house. She put in a valiant fight against her second round of breast cancer.
Darlene was born on September 22, 1946 in Waterbury to George A. Craft and Hazel (Lawlor) Craft. She adored her parents and devoted her life to her mother’s care over the past several years until her recent passing in March 2020. Hazel could not have asked for a more caring and committed daughter. Darlene attended Waterbury schools. Her elementary years were happily spent at Notre Dame Academy and then she attended Sacred Heart High School and has forever been a true Heart. Among her proudest times were when she was able to see her three grandchildren also become Sacred Heart graduates. In fact, she was most excited to receive her Golden Diploma during Emily’s graduation ceremony in 2014. Darlene also attended Southern Connecticut State University where she received her Master’s degree in reading.
Darlene was a teacher of many levels, but mostly fifth grade, at Saints Peter and Paul School for over 30 years. She absolutely loved running into former students around town and enjoyed hearing all about their lives. Her students knew that she would spend an hour in the grocery store chatting just to catch up! It brought her great joy to reminisce about times in the classroom and to later teach her former students’ children. Through her involvement at Saints Peter and Paul Parish, she was a former Eucharistic Minister and proud president of the Madonna Guild.
Darlene is survived by her daughter, Marci Craft and son-in-law, John Drewry, and her three beautiful grandchildren, Emily, Nellie and Seth Drewry. She is also predeceased by her former husband, Paul Biedrzycki. Darlene never missed a school function, sporting event or dance recital for her grandchildren as she proudly took pictures, happily ran out for more Gatorade, picked up a forgotten pair of cleats or became a taxi to practices or games. She loved buying birthday and Christmas gifts for Emily, Nellie and Seth and always overdid it! Additionally, Darlene leaves Maya, her spunky Boston Terrier, who was a faithful companion for many years and is now making her home with Emily.
Darlene is also survived by her cousin Joann, whom she maintained a lifelong friendship with, and beloved cousin, Thomas “Buddy” Crowley of Holiday, Florida whom she grew up with and considered to be a brother and someone she could always count on for advice and a long talk. Finally, Darlene is survived by a close circle of friends whose dedication and care for her never wavered. Diana Parady, Charlie Kelly, Carol Costello and Mary Lepper were friendships made while at Sacred Heart. Mary and Darlene remained the best of friends throughout their lives and shared many family gatherings and events with one another, truly making the statement “Friends are family you choose” true. Darlene also maintained a dear and close friendship with her college friend, Judy Hirsch, of Washington DC. They were life-long pen pals with their respective classes while they taught and daily phone chatters when they had each retired. Judy was truly a cherished friend.
The family would like to extend sincere gratitude to Dr. Sieling, Dr. Medrano and her nurse Tracy, as well as to Beatrice who cared for Darlene lovingly at home.
Funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Leo the Great Church, Parish of Mary, Mother of the Church, 14 Bentwood Drive in Waterbury. All attending are required to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Burial will follow in New Pine Grove Cemetery.
The Murphy Funeral Home, 115 Willow Street is in charge of the arrangements.
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