A woman of faith, passion and many talents, Reverend Darlene Cunliffe left this world suddenly and unexpectedly a few months shy of what would have been her 72nd birthday.
Walking along side her through life’s journey was her loving husband Bill, their blended family of six children and 12 grandkids. And what a well-lived life it was.
Born in 1950 in Toronto, she was raised and lived for quite some time in the Brantford area. Growing up, she befriended two sisters whose father was a Reverend at St. Jude’s Anglican church, and it was there she would become one of the first girls to serve on the alter, something she rather came to enjoy. It was also through this affiliation that she got to travel up north to the remote native community of Big Trout Lake where her experience would shape a lifetime of compassion and support for others as well as the native population.
Her aspirations at the time, however, were in the health field and she went on to become a registered nurse, working in several departments in the Brantford Hospital. According to husband Bill, “her favourite area to work in was labour and delivery where she developed a reputation for being very caring and especially effective helping, new mothers with advice for nursing their babies.”
All the while her interest in the church had not waned and she continued to be involved, first by becoming a volunteer vocational deacon. As the years passed, she found that nursing work became increasingly hard on her back, so she began taking courses that would take her further in her religious calling, eventually graduating with a Master’s in Divinity to become a full-fledged priest, no easy feat for a woman with young children and in her 40s.
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