Darlene Klein retiring after 68 years as organist at St. Mary, Metamora

Darlene Klein at the organ at St. Mary Church in Metamora. (Provided photo)

METAMORA — Her musical numbers are noteworthy: Darlene F. Klein has played organ for more than 650 weddings, nearly 800 funerals, and in more than 80 churches — six of which were in Europe and the Holy Land while on a pilgrimage in 2000.

But there is no count of the number of Masses that Darlene’s talents have blessed in 68 years of service to St. Mary Parish in Metamora. She has recently announced her retirement.

Beginning in 1955, Darlene directed the adult choir for seven years and was assigned as the parish’s full-time organist seven years later. She was the wedding, funeral, and choir organist for more than 40 years, scheduling other parish musicians and song leaders.

In 1979, the parish began a children’s choir, which Darlene accompanied for 25 years, working with five different directors.

A native of LaSalle County, she married Leland L. Klein on Thanksgiving Day, 1950, and moved to his hometown of Metamora, where they raised 11 children.

In addition to her service at the parish, Darlene played piano and accordion with Lloyd Schupp’s Rhythm Kings from 1956 to 1974; was accompanist for high school musicals in Washburn and Metamora; and played at area nursing homes. She is a past president of the Altar and Rosary Society at St. Mary Parish, a 2006 recipient of the Diocese of Peoria’s Pere Marquette Award for outstanding service, and was recognized by the Peoria Diocesan Council of Catholic Women for her volunteerism in 2019.

In lieu of a reception, Darlene’s family requests a “card shower of appreciation.” Cards may be sent to Darlene Klein, c/o Leon Klein, 409 W. Walnut St., Metamora, IL 61548.

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