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Darlene Fiske, 86, Bull Valley

Darlene S. Fiske, 86, Bull Valley, died peacefully Wednesday, June 1, 2016, at her home, the Cold Springs Schoolhouse, Bull Valley, surrounded by her family. 

She was born Nov. 4, 1925, to Arthur E. and Alma (Melchior) Sharp in Chicago.

In 1954, she married Kenneth V. Fiske of Chicago and moved to Woodstock. 

She graduated from Northwestern University, where she was a member of Alpha Phi sorority and Mortar Board, and pursued a master’s degree in library science at the University of Chicago. 

Prior to her marriage, she had a successful career in television production with NBC Chicago, which included shows such as Zoo Parade (from the Lincoln Park Zoo), Wild Kingdom and Mr. Wizard. 

She was a homemaker and volunteer. She was a founder of the McHenry County Audubon Society and the Woodstock Fine Arts Association and a key organizer in the restoration of the Woodstock Opera House. A renowned birder, her bird identification ability was unparalleled. She traveled the world adding birds to her Life List and was a member of the Governor’s Committee on Endangered Species. She worked together with her husband for the Hawaii Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of Hawaii and the Ding Darling Nature Preserve on Sanibel Island, Fla. 

She loved music, especially opera, and was a longtime subscriber to the Lyric Opera of Chicago. She sang with the Woodstock Fine Arts Chorale and was a founder and active member of Woodstock’s Mast House folk music circle.

Survivors include her husband; three daughters, Diana (David) Wilson, Crystal Lake, Jennifer Fiske, Woodstock, and Nancy (Ron) Readel, Richardson, Texas; two grandchildren, Matthew (Kate) Wilson, Santa Barbara, Calif., and Timothy (Nina Beck) Wilson, Milwaukee; and two great-grandchildren, Elliot and Nora Wilson of Santa Barbara; her twin brother, Donald Sharp, New York; and her devoted cat, Serena.

She was preceded in death by her parents and a brother, William Sharp.

Memorials may be made to the McHenry County Audubon Society or the Woodstock Fine Arts Association.

Funeral services were private, and arrangements were by Schneider, Leucht, Merwin, Cooney Funeral Home, Woodstock.

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