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Verlee Darlene Fronce, age 83 of Manhattan, passed away Friday, March 10, 2023 in the Bramlage House at Meadowlark Hills.
She was born on December 9, 1939 in Salina, the daughter of Vearl West and Vera (Perrill) West Cravens. Her parents divorced early on and she was then raised and loved dearly by her step father, Roy Cravens. She attended Manhattan area schools, graduating from Manhattan High school in 1958.
On May 29, 1958, at the Ashland Community Church, she married Larry Joe Fronce. They met at a community square dance at the age of 15. He preceded her in death on July 29, 2020.
She worked various jobs for several years, spending most of those years at Dillons. She worked in the Dillons Bakery, then managed the Seafood Department and then moved on to manage the Deli Department. She retired from Dillons working as a Pharmacy Technician in the Pharmacy department.
Darlene loved her family and friends greatly. When her son Jeffrey was born with Down Syndrome in 1960, she played a key role in bringing parents of special needs children together in Manhattan, as there were not many, if any, programs like these in place at that time. These included Special Olympics and programs for Special Populations within the city. She loved supporting her grandkids in all their ventures; sports, musicals, and job related activities. She was an active member of her ESA sorority and truly enjoyed her time together with these ladies. She loved family gatherings and game nights. She loved to travel, especially enjoying Estes Park in the fall. Up until her move into Meadowlark in November 2022, she loved the views of the sunrises and sunsets from her house by the lake. She was a member of the First United Methodist Church.
She is survived by two sons, Larry Dean Fronce of Manhattan and Todd Anthony Fronce and wife Deyanira of El Paso, Texas; one daughter, Krista Thaemert and husband Tom of Manhattan; three brothers, Wayne Cravens and wife Bonnie of Manhattan, Kenneth Cravens and wife Sandy of Manhattan and Mike Cravens and wife Dani of Wamego; one sister, Jan Speckman of New Mexico; five grandchildren, Justin Fronce, Savannah Thaemert, Reese Thaemert, Sarah Fronce and Abby Fronce and many nieces and nephews.
In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by her parents; one son, Jeffrey Jay Fronce; one sister-in-law, Joyce Fronce and one brother-in-law, Clyde Fronce.
Cremation is planned with a memorial service to be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Meadowlark Foundation and First United Methodist Church. Contributions may be left in care of the Anderes-Pfeifley Funeral Home.
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