We are saddened to announce the death of Darlene G. White of Pittsfield, Mass., on March 31 due to the physical decline inflicted by dementia. She was born on Sept. 24, 1953. Reunited in death, Darlene is the daughter of the late Rita Taglieri White and Argie “Whitey” White.
She grew up in the Italian “village” of Fenn Street, where daily life was a family affair. Sunday meant picnics at the State Forest where aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings and friends gathered with enough food for a week. Blueberry picking, swimming in the icy spring water, exploring the woods, it was a simple and happy time, and sowed in Dar’s vibrant mind seedlings of the future stories she would write.
Darlene attended Plunkett Elementary, South Junior High, and graduated from St Joseph’s High School. Against all odds, she was accepted to Smith College and graduated with a BA in English in 1975.
She loved books and was an avid reader. She began to write what she knew and her funny, ironic voice laced her writings making her a local favorite. She wrote articles for the Berkshire Eagle, published stories in the Berkshire Review, and her essays were aired on the WAMC program All Things Considered.
She overcame performance fear to emerge as a witty storyteller. She has performed at SpeakEasy in both the Berkshire and Brooklyn, N.Y, locales; at The Moth Grandslam at the Roxy Theatre in New York; and performed her one-woman show at NewStage Performing Arts.
Darlene loved writing and writers, and would lend her time to events that promoted their talents. She hosted WordPlayStage in North Adams and was associate director of Word Street, a drop-in writing and tutoring center for kids in Pittsfield. Darlene had various jobs while raising her family but her last one as Community Program Manager for the Boston Symphony Orchestra was a hand-in-glove fit. Darlene loved the Tanglewood grounds and got to interface with smart professionals countywide. Declining health forced Darlene to retire in 2016.
Darlene is survived by the pride of her life, sons Nathaniel (Jenna) of Tampa, Florida.; Everett (Julie) of Ashbury, New Jersey, and Dalton O’Neal of Pittsfield, as well as their father, Dan O’Neal. The joy of Dar’s existence was her granddaughter, Meredith.
She is also survived by her siblings, David, Donald, and Dyan White of Pittsfield, and Debbie Kennedy of Tampa, Florida. They fondly remember bowling at Candle Lanes throughout their childhood, and want Dar to be remembered as a good bowler too! She leaves many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends who will greatly miss her.
There will be a celebration of her life at a later time, when we can gather to honor Darlene appropriately.