Darlene Dolores Grau Hotopp, 87 of Des Moines, formerly of Gladbrook, passed away on October 26, 2020 at Kavanagh House after a 6 year struggle with the dual illnesses of Myesthenia Gravis and Dementia. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no funeral services will be held at this time. A zoom event will be held by invitation. Interment will be held at a later date at Union Grove Cemetery for immediate family. Anderson Funeral Homes of Gladbrook has been entrusted with arrangements. Online condolences may be sent to www.andersonfhs.com
Darlene was born on February 12, 1933 to William and Helen Grau in Olive Township rural Calamus, Iowa. She attended Calamus Community Schools followed by Wartburg College for a 2 year teaching degree, and later a Bachelors in Education from Drake University. She married Cullen (Skip) Hotopp on March 13, 1953. Skip and Darlene lived in several Iowa communities before settling near Gladbrook to build their dream home at Union Grove Lake. Darlene was a teacher and taught several grades of elementary school and pre-school. She also worked in the banking field and eventually closed out her career by working at Des Moines Public Schools. Darlene had many talents. She was an excellent seamstress and made hundreds of quilts for family and friends. She was a master at piecing together quilt tops from scraps of fabric donated to the church. She was involved in a church quilting group for many years. In her retirement years, she volunteered teaching English to immigrants, reading to children, and assisting with American Legion Auxiliary activities.
Darlene is survived by her daughter, Denise Hotopp of Des Moines and son, Ronald Hotopp of Missouri; 3 grandchildren, Andrew (Kiersten) Hotopp of Des Moines, Heidi Hotopp (Ben) Dryden of Washington D.C., and William (Crystal) Hotopp of Missouri; 6 great-grandchildren, Teddy Dryden and Isaac Dryden, Henry Hotopp, and Joseph, Vera, and Jace Hotopp and a 7th great-grandson due in December. Also survived by sisters Mayme (Bill) Smith of Plano, Texas, Donna (Don) Coon of Cedar Rapids, Laura Grau of Garland, Texas and brother-in-law Frank Pieper of Emden, Illinois and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Skip Hotopp; parents William Grau and Helen Grau; Sisters Joyce Pieper, Dianna Eggers, Janice Alden, and brother, Lowell Grau.
Memorials may be made to a charity of your choice or one of Darlene's suggestions which include her church, Our Saviour Lutheran at 4003 2nd Ave. in Des Moines; Myesthenia Gravis Foundation https://myasthenia.org; Alzheimers Foundation of America https://alzfdn.org; or EveryStep Kavanagh House at 900 56th in Des Moines.
I am deployed overseas once again in the Middle East and just found out I lost my 1st Grade Teacher. She was firm, but fair and I didn't necessarily appreciate it at the time, but her teaching methods helped me out so much. Ma told me that Mrs. Hotopp changed my life and behavior and instilled discipline in me. She told me that Mrs. H turned me into a kid with manners who actually listened and behaved the way Ma always tried to do with me instead of being a bully. I guess all those things stuck over the years as I ended up doing alright in school and life. She was a great teacher and role model for many, many kids like me. I am so sorry for your loss. Please take care and be safe.
Marc R. McCreery
Colonel, US Army Special Forces
Denise & Ron and families,
Mrs. Hotopp was my first grade teacher in Gladbrook. She was very strict but she did such a great job teaching reading. Our class excelled because of her insistance that we all learn to read and read well. No preschools back in our days. I would of had her in 1969 and 1970. I do remember her talking about you both. She will be missed. You are in my prayers. So thankful she taught at Gladbrook and I was lucky enough to have her as my teacher😊🙏
Your Mother was a classy lady. May she rest peacefully.
Hi i am lisa i was her maid at her home in johnston iowa through molly maid me and my partner jennifer came there many years and enjoyed talking to her and seeing her be happy to watch her grandson grow up in pictures and phone calls she could make so many blankets her sewing room was her favorite room she was a very sweet women if denise hotopp could call me that would be appreciated thanks
To Darlene's family. We farmed one mile west of Union Grove Lake. My former MHS classmate, Pat Claussen and Darlene started a pre-school at Darlene's home, and our son Roger attended the first year. It was the first pre-school for Gladbrook and lucky it was so close to our home. Both teachers had taught as Gladbrook elementary before starting the pre-school. Both excellent teachers. Prayers and Sympathy to all her family.
Many years ago Mrs. Hotopp was my first grade teacher and a very good teacher. I remember the class was to make square trivets for Mother's Day presents. We made our designs by carefully placing loose, ceramic pieces in a base plate. I loved the heart-shaped ceramic pieces and tried to use as many as I could in my design. The many hearts were pretty but there were too many large, empty areas within, not good for trivet functionality. She said, "...too much of a good thing, is sometimes too much of a good thing..." or something to that effect. I've remembered her words over the years, and when the situation fits those words surface in my mind. Like...when I am in the same room with a fresh pan of cookies out of the oven. ;) One of many things I learned from her during my first grade year.
Denise & Ron, My deepest sympathy. I have so many memories of Dalene and Skip and cherish our good times we had over the years. I'll always remember Darlene and Skip.
Your mom and dad always treated me like family. So many great memories.
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