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Darlene Huntington helped save Snohomish’s charm

SNOHOMISH — Darlene Huntington, 88, passed away Dec. 30 at Cascade Valley Hospital from pneumonia after a 10-year battle with dementia. Known for her love of gardening and restoration of historic buildings in Snohomish, she was instrumental in establishing the Snohomish Historic Business and Residential Districts alongside her father, Everett Olsen.
"They really set the guide and the heart that is Snohomish," family member Laura Huntington said of Darlene Huntington and Olsen.
Huntington helped found the Snohomish Historical Society and helped found the Snohomish Senior Center. She worked with her father to create the former Pioneer Village where the Kikendall cabin and cemetery remain. She and Olsen led the move of the Waltz building to its current location on Avenue B. They relocated several other historic buildings in Snohomish that would have met demise otherwise. Huntington was on the city's Design Review Board for many years.
"She was really dedicated to seeing that as many historic homes that could be, were saved," close friend and former manager of the Snohomish Chamber of Commerce, Pam Schilaty said.
Huntington worked diligently to find materials that were accurate to the era of each building. She completed renovations on about eight historic homes in Snohomish, not including her father's projects or others which she consulted.
“She cared about the community and her family," Snohomish Historical Society President Chris Gee said. He and Huntington had worked together since he was in high school. Gee recalled Huntington's drive, organization skills, math ability, and determination, saying she was a good friend and mentor who conducted tours for the Blackman Museum, the Snohomish Walking Tour and the Snohomish Home Tour, all of which she helped develop. Gee remembered Huntington meticulously hand-painting wallpaper at the Blackman Museum to match the original colors. She refinished flooring, updated electrical outlets, installed drywall, and painted walls on her many projects.
"Vacuuming is the only thing I know of that she wouldn't do," Gee said.
As a Master Gardener, Huntington's home garden was featured in several national gardening magazines. The Northwest Flower and Garden Show had her as a speaker and consultant for at least a decade. The University of Washington Horticultural school would visit her home garden. Darlene and
her husband Dan were involved with the Snohomish Education Foundation and were avid Husky football season ticket holders. Huntington enjoyed her membership with the Snohomish Professional Women's Network and the Snohomish Garden Club.
"She had the energy of 1,000 people," her son Doug Huntington said, recalling that she would outwork the construction crews at the properties she owned. "She was an incredible lady, great mom, and grandmother.” She spent her time in the background as much as possible, always smiling, and could lead any person or group.
Huntington is preceded in death by her parents, Everett and Mary Olsen; brother, Don; and husband, Dan. She is survived by her sons, Doug and Nick (Janet), and six grandchildren. A celebration of life will be held in Snohomish at Hidden Meadows,11805 Springhetti Road, on Feb. 25, with the time to be determined.  



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