Honoring the Life by Telling the Story
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Darla McLean

March 18, 1954 - August 22, 2020
Greenfield, WI

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Visitation

Wednesday, August 26, 2020
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM CDT
Parkway Apostolic Church
10940 S Nicholson Road
Oak Creek, WI 53154
(414) 571-2680

COVID-19 protocols will be observed. Masks will be required. If you have a compromised condition or if you are not feeling well please, do not attend.

Map

Funeral Service

Wednesday, August 26, 2020
7:00 PM CDT
Live Stream
Parkway Apostolic Church
10940 S Nicholson Road
Oak Creek, WI 53154
(414) 571-2680

COVID-19 protocols will be observed. Masks will be required. If you have a compromised condition or if you are not feeling well please, do not attend.

Map

Contributions


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Darla McLean Family c/o Gerald McLean
10940 S. Nicholson Road
Oak Creek, WI 53154

In lieu of flowers memorials can be directed to the wishes of the family of Darla McLean. Checks can be made payable to Gerald McLean.

Life Story / Obituary


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Darla’s life can be summed up in one word, “love.” She loved God, she loved her family and she loved God’s people. Many who knew Darla June Steele in 1972, were stunned when she broke a well established tradition at Southeast United Pentecostal Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma by choosing to attend Gateway Bible College in Florisant, Missouri rather than Apostolic Bible Institute in St. Paul, Minnesota. But this was all part of God’s divine master plan for Darla. It would be at Gateway that she would meet her husband and where the preparatory work for her ministry in Nigeria would begin.

Darla’s shyness was profound. But the same God who passed over the first seven sons of Jesse to find a king, passed over others to call Darla Steele to Africa. God overlooked her limitations and saw her heart.

Darla was the second of two children born to Buford and Nadine Steele. Shortly after Darla’s birth in 1954, Nadine, was invited to revival services at Southeast United Pentecostal Church. Nadine was filled with the Holy Spirit and was baptized in the saving Name of Jesus Christ. Four years later, Darla was filled with the Holy Spirit and was baptized. Her baptism required two ministers. She was so tiny that one had to hold her out of the water so she would not drown and then Rev. R. D. Whalen plunged her under the water in the saving Name of Jesus.

Darla’s mother was a home maker and it was no surprise that by her teens Darla was already an accomplished seamstress and one of her first jobs was working in a clothing store where she sewed men’s suits. At the same time she was developing what would become her legendary culinary skills.

Darla NEVER missed church. It was the center of her life. As a child, church services were held Sunday morning and Sunday night, Wednesday night and Friday night. It was not uncommon to have two and even three week revivals without a day off. And did I say it? Darla NEVER missed church. She loved the Lord, loved God’s house, and loved reading and studying God’s Word.

When Darla was 16 years old, while praying at an altar with tears streaming down her face, God called Darla to be a missionary to Africa. That was a secret that Darla hid in her heart for many years.

Darla met the love of her life while attending Bible school. Gerry, her soon to be husband, served as the school janitor to help pay his school fees and Darla worked in the print room. How fortuitous that they would meet while Gerry was taking out the trash.

The school policy was that you could have one date a month as a freshman, but it had to be a double date or a chaperoned date. Gerry and Darla looked forward to their first date with anxious anticipation. But due to a minor school rule infraction, Gerry’s date privilege was rescinded. Gerry, not easily deterred, met with Darla on the school grounds that very night and proposed to her. Darla said, “Yes.” It was a whirlwind courtship. They met in March and were married in August. Upon her husband’s Bible school graduation, they moved back to Wisconsin and attended Parkway, Gerry’s home church. God would bless them with 46 wonderful years together.

Upon their arrival in Wisconsin, Andrew, Brian, and Heather were born into their family. Darla was devoted to her husband, but had more than enough love and time for their three children. It was through prayers watered by a mother’s tears that God miraculously healed baby Andrew even though the doctors had given up all hope. Because of Dad’s work and school schedule, it was Mom that took her boys to Boy Scouts and helped them with their school projects. Heather was the recipient of one of Mom’s greatest labors of love, her sewing. Nearly everything Heather wore was the product of Darla’s sewing machine. Heather was the best dressed girl at Parkway and later in Sault Ste Marie.

Darla ended up in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan in 1985 when her husband accepted the pastorate of a small home missions church. Though she knew she was called to Africa, she always thought it was funny that to get there we would have to live on the Arctic Circle before moving to the equator. Darla called Sault Ste Marie, “Sault Ste. Siberia” because it was always so cold. Bone jarring cold. Summer was described as “two weeks of tough sledding.”

After 7 years in the Soo, Darla followed her husband back to Milwaukee and Parkway Church. Then in 1996 the doors opened to minister in Africa. After a 6 month mission assignment in Botswana, she followed her husband to Nigeria, West Africa. Everything in Darla’s life prepared her for her ministry there. It would span a period of 23 years.

The Nigerian people adored Darla. She loved them as if they were her own children. They honored her by calling her “mom.” She initially came to Nigeria to help set up a Bible school and do the office work. One day, one of the Bible school teachers failed to show up for class. I told Darla that there was no one else to take the class and that she would have to teach. She responded that she wasn’t a teacher and that even if she was there was no time to study and prepare. I assured her that she could do it and that she had 10 minutes to get ready. Dutifully, she went to class. Her teaching career was born. The students loved her teaching and she became one of the most loved teachers in the 33 year history of the school.

Upon our retirement earlier this year, we had so many plans for the future including catching up with the lives of our six grandchildren, Josiah, Seth, Ethan, Mahala, Gabriel, and Luca. But like the Esther of the Old Testament, Darla who was born “for such a time as this.” Darla was born to be my soul mate, to raise 3 godly children, to model godly living before her grandchildren, and to birth literally thousands of spiritual children. Though her life was cut short, what she accomplished will count for time and eternity. Her life mattered. She made a difference. Although are hearts are broken over this unexpected and sudden loss, Darla fought a great fight and she finished her course.

On Saturday, August 22, 2020, Darla June McLean, loving wife and mother of three children passed away at the age of 66. Darla was preceded in death by her father, Buford Valentine Steele and her mother, Nadine Brumley. She is survived by her husband of forty-six years, Gerald; son, Andrew (Shyla) McLean, son, Brian (Laura) McLean, daughter, Heather (Erick) Casteñeda and grandchildren; Josiah, Seth, Ethan, Mahala, Gabriel, and Luca. She is also survived by her brother, Dale (Linda) Steele. Further survived by many other relatives and friends.

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