Darlene Delores Johnson was born on December 13, 1920 near Blairsburg, Iowa, to Henry R. Johnson and Jennie Victoria Christensen Johnson. At the age of 7, Darlene's mother died leaving five children, ages 9 months to 8 years old. Life during the Great Depression was extremely difficult for the motherless family. After finishing eighth grade, Darlene did not return to school; instead she obtained a position as a housekeeper for the Tyler family near Jewell where she earned money to enable her siblings to attend school. Her brother said "Darlene took care of our family". Later she moved to Armstrong and worked for her uncle as a waitress in his restaurant. During World War II, she worked in an airplane parts factory at Hill Field in Ogden, Utah. Darlene moved to Webster City near the end of World War II where she worked as a waitress at the Hammers Cafe and Dermand's Cafe. She met Arthur F. Kelting at the Shady Oaks Restaurant and they married on April 22, 1946, at the St. Thomas Aquinas Parsonage. To this union, three daughters were born: Kandace Kay (Curtis) Martin; Artace (Dennis Stone) Kelting; An'Nyce (Keith) Hoff. She was a homemaker for most of her life but also worked at Eddy Hardware and Bacon Jewelry.