Darlene Jean Schmid Dyess, of Big Island, passed away peacefully at home on July 22, 2023 at the age of 75. Darlene was born May 1, 1948 in Des Moines, Iowa to Vera Leonard and Edward Schmid. She was preceded in death by ex-husband, John Butts; four brothers; and a son-in-law, Michael Lennox of St. Charles, Michigan. She is survived by her loving and devoted husband, John H. Dyess; and loving children, Robert Shane Dyess (Jusitine), Orange, Texas, Meri Kristis Justus of Lynchburg, Virginia, Stacy Schlottman (husband Neal) of Bedford, Virginia and Brandy Lennox of St. Charles, Michigan. She loved each one of them with everything in her. Darlene has six grandchildren, Jaci Crouch (Tracy) of DeRidder, Louisanna, Season Vidrine (Nick) of Merryville, Louisanna, Cody Lennox of St. Charles, Michigan, Breya Lennox of St. Charles, Michigan, Austin Schlottman (Chana) of Bedford, Virginia and Collin Schlottman of Bedford, Virginia. Even though she loved her kids, her heart became overwhelmed when she started getting the grandchildren and even more so when she started getting great children. She is survived by her ten great-grandchildren. After getting married to John Butts, they were stationed in Fort Polk, Louisanna in 1976 and was divorced shortly thereafter. Darlene then got involved with being a Brownie and Girl Scout Troop Leader because of her daughter, Meri. In 1978, Darlene met John Dyess and they became a family of one in 1980 with one son and three daughters. Then they ended up being stationed in Germany for 4 years. While in Germany, Darlene found her passion, heart and love for the children that would soon be coming into her life. When they returned to the states, Darlene went straight to working with children at daycares in Mobile, Alabama. John had a job transfer to Newport News in 1994 and Darlene opened an at home daycare during their time in Newport News. Then decided to move to Big Island because of another job transfer for John. At this point, Darlene has worked directly with children for almost 20 years collectively. Once in Big Island, she started with the Headstart Program and over the years moved to the Bedford Public School System where she was at each of the city schools at one point or another. At times it even seemed that she had some of the same children that she had in the Headstart Program. For Darlene and John to go to town and shop for groceries or just to grab a bite to eat, it was often that a student would come up to her asking if she remembered them. This always brought tears to her eyes and made her heart flutter with joy. In, 2002, Darlene decided that she wanted to make an even bigger impact on the children and while working her full-time job, she managed to go back to college on a part-time schedule and received her Early Childhood Development Associates Degree from CVCC. Darlene ended up having open heart surgery in the summer of 2012 and managed to build herself back up and went back to work the first day of school that fall. She could not stand to be away from the children at the school. She was bound and determined to get back to them. She ended up retiring at the end of the school year in 2015. Since retiring she has been enjoying life with John, her daughters and grandchildren, until her great-granddaughter was born in January 2020 and that became her life. Darlene’s body has been donated to the Virginia State Anatomical Program and they will cremate her remains and return them at a later date. Burch-Messier Funeral Home has handled all of these arrangements for us. There will be a Celebration of her Life held at 1:00 p.m., on August 18, 2023 at the Bedford Lutheran Church at 728 Burks Hill Rd, Bedford, Virginia 24523. Pastor Tim Feaser will be officiating. You are welcomed to stay for the reception that will follow the services. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Bedford Lutheran Church, 728 Burks Hill Rd, Bedford, Virginia 24523. Burch-Messier Funeral Home is assisting the family.