Born to Life
July 31, 1933
June 13, 1951
Born to Eternal Life
December 29, 2022
Mt. Olivet Cemetery
Sister Darlene Hoch was born on July 31, 1933 in Knoxville, Iowa. She was the fourth-born child of 14, in the family of Alban Hoch and Leona Schneider. Darlene was the oldest girl, with many siblings to follow, so she learned quickly how to take charge and help care for others. She quickly began developing the life skills and traits she would need in the future as a teacher and caregiver. God was already preparing her for a full life of service and ministry to others.
Darlene and her siblings walked two-and-a-half miles each way from their home in Bauer, Iowa, to the Bauer Country School, and it was Darlene’s responsibility to make sure the smaller ones were safe and warm for this trek each day. St. Joseph’s Parish in Bauer had a close relationship with the school, and it was during this time that Darlene and her siblings met the School Sisters of St. Francis.
When Darlene was in eighth grade, one of the sisters, Sister Salina, invited her to attend high school at St. Joseph Convent in Milwaukee. This was one of God’s early and strong calls saying, “Come, follow me!” and Darlene heard it. While she was very much needed at home to help with the younger children, her parents made the great sacrifice and allowed her to go to Milwaukee for high school. This decision left a big hole in this still-growing Hoch family.
Darlene continued to respond to God’s call, and in 1951, she was received into the School Sisters of St. Francis as a novice to begin her formal preparation for the life of service God had especially called her to. She would now be known as Sister Albana in honor of her father. Later she chose to return to her baptismal name.
For nearly 60 years, Darlene served in active, full-time ministry as a teacher and then as a caregiver in the home. Darlene touched the lives of young and old in Illinois, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Arizona, and Wisconsin.
In her service to others, Darlene generously used all the gifts God had given her. She was a strong-willed woman and was always clear in expressing her expectations. She did not fear confrontation. However, Darlene knew herself well and could laugh at her own foibles. Her good sense of humor and willingness to laugh at herself and with others always accompanied her service to others. This was especially helpful for her in dealing with teenagers. Her students knew how and when they could make her laugh, and that often saved the day and assisted her in developing deep student-teacher relationships.
After her teaching career, Darlene used these same gifts and life skills to assist an elderly woman, Josephine, in her home for 14 years. This ministry helped Darlene connect directly and deeply with another family, the O’Reillys.
Family was always most important to Darlene, so after Josephine died, she volunteered to assist her own family once again for 10 years in her niece’s chiropractic office before she moved back to Milwaukee to Maria Linden in 2018 for retirement.
Early in 2022, Maria Linden made some changes that necessitated yet another move for Darlene. This was God’s last call to her to “Come, follow me.” Darlene moved to Sacred Heart and on December 29 she made her final move quickly and quietly to be with God and her family who had preceded her.
We will miss you, Darlene, and we will always listen and join in your laughter until we meet again.