Darlene Fairbanks Obituary

BALL CLUB, MN – Darlene Jo (Wahweotten) Fairbanks, 80, Iinwahkwe’, of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, Thunder Clan, and Ball Club, Minnesota journeyed to the spirit world on Saturday, October 10, 2020, peacefully from her home with her family and in-home hospice care.  She was born in Holton, KS on July 3, 1940, the daughter of Evelyn (Fitzimmons) and Joseph Wahweotten.

Darlene was cherished and loved by family and her community.  She will be greatly missed.  Her greatest passions in life were her family, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and the family of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Early Headstart Program.  She loved and served many throughout her employment with LLBO Early Headstart Program and her six-year supervisory position at the Bug School Childcare; in all 25 years of caring for precious children. Darlene enjoyed attending pow-wows, family events, and going to the casino.  She took much pride and joy in the many Headstart graduation ceremonies throughout the years.  One of her greatest accomplishments, along with the rest of the staff, was the preservation of the Anishinab’ek language, their culture, song, and dance.  The many teachings of culture and language were and are incorporated in everyday life of the many children she so loved and cherished.

Gi-zaagi’in….Giga-waabamin Menawaa.

Family that welcome Darlene to the spirit world are her husband, Charles E. Fairbanks; mother, “Shonote” Evelyn M. Wahweotten; father, “Wabansi” Joseph B. Wahweotten; sisters, Carol Robinson and Juanita Wahweotten; brother, “Weezo” Gary Wahweotten and grandparents, Floyd and Ruth Elizabeth (Wahwassuck) Fitzimmons.

Those she leaves behind to cherish her memory are her daughters, Sherry S. Schaaf of AZ, Rhonda M. Schaaf of MN and Brenda J. Schaaf of MN; son, Randall L. Schaaf of MN; 17 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren, numerous nieces, nephews, other family members, and her friends.

An overnight wake for Darlene will begin at 6:00 p.m., Thursday, October 15, and continue until her 10:00 a.m. traditional services on Friday, October 16, all to be held at the Ball Club Community Center in Ball Club, MN.  Waa-maajaa’iwed is Steve Jackson.  Helping to lay Darlene to rest are Jeremy M. Schaaf, Israel J. White, Christopher Schaaf, Elijah B. Matrious, Nichalos C. Beaulieu, and Brandon L. Schaaf.  Alternate pallbearer is Wade Monroe.  Her honorary pallbearers are Randall L. Schaaf and the Staff of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Early Headstart Program.  Interment will be in the Olivet Cemetery at Deer River, MN immediately following her Friday services.

Darlene’s care has been entrusted to Northern Peace Funeral Home of Walker, MN.  Online condolences for the family may be left at

  • Courtesy of Northern Peace Funeral Home