Darlyne Kathryn Neff, 81

Darlyne Kathryn Neff, 81, of Iowa City, Iowa, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015, at Oaknoll Retirement Community. Per her wishes, there will be no memorial service, and the family requests no flowers. Memorial contributions can be made to the Energy Conservation Fund of the Oaknoll Foundation. Burial will be in the Riverside Cemetery in Oshkosh at a later date.

Darlyne was born Dec. 1, 1933, in West Bend, the daughter of Edward and Meta DeTuncq. She had three younger brothers, Robert (Pat), Donald and Edward “Chip” (Jackie). Darlyne was educated in the West Bend school system, MacMurray College and Hope College, becoming a grade school teacher. She said the students she liked the best were the ones that gave her the most trouble. Darlyne then earned a Master of Science degree in speech at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she met her husband, John Neff. They were married in West Bend on Aug. 20, 1960. They then moved to Yerkes Observatory of the University of Chicago in Williams Bay, where John was a postdoctoral fellow, and then to Iowa City in 1964, where Darlyne taught kindergarten for many years at Helen Lemme Elementary School.

Darlyne and John had two sons, Paul (Mary) and James (Stephanie). When her sons were old enough, she resumed teaching grade school, and later taught junior high speech, community college speech and at-risk preschool children. Darlyne’s commitment to service was evident in her volunteer work with women inmates, the homeless and Habitat for Humanity. She enjoyed traveling, camping with her family, hiking on mountain trails and ocean beaches. Darlyne cared deeply about the environment and the wise use of energy.

Darlyne organized one of the early forums on health care reform at Oaknoll in 2008. That resulted in an invitation to speak at the Iowa White House Forum on Health Reform in Des Moines in March of 2009. Evidently someone in the White House liked the speech, because they put it on the White House web page and she was invited to sit with Michelle Obama later that year during the president’s Affordable Care Act speech to a joint session of Congress. She was a strong advocate for access to health care, and for wise and judicious use of medical resources.

Darlyne is survived by her husband of 55 years; her two sons; four grandchildren, Justin (Dawn), Zoe, John and James; a great-granddaughter, Henley; brother, Edward “Chip” (Jackie) DeTuncq; and sister- in-law, Pat DeTuncq. Darlyne is preceded in death by her parents, and brothers, Robert and Donald.

Online condolences may be left for the family at www.lensingfuneral.com.