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Welcome to the memorial page for

Rogene A. Mabe

August 24, 1943 ~ December 16, 2017 (age 74)

The Piano Brothers

Rogene Ann (Roby Darr Dodge) Mabe passed away on December 16th, 2017, in Columbus, Montana, following a lengthy illness. 

Rogene, or “Jean”, as she was called by family and friends, was born in Grand Island, Nebraska, on August 24, 1943, in Grand Island Lutheran Hospital, the middle daughter of three girls, to Mr. and Mrs. LaVerne and Irma Roby.   She grew up on West Koenig Street in Grand Island and attended Wasmer Elementary School and Barr Junior High.  She graduated from Grand Island High School. 

She loved to read books and had a knack for drawing and art.   While working at the Grand Island Independent, she met Alfred Leo Darr, (d. 1983) a journalist, photographer and newspaper editor from New York.   A romance blossomed and they were married in Grand Island in St Mary’s Catholic Church on April 3, 1964.  They moved to Missoula, Montana, where Al found work at The Missoulian.  They also lived briefly in Ottumwa, Iowa, and then Omaha, Nebraska, before settling in Butte, Montana, where Al was employed at The Montana Standard. They had three sons in quick succession, James Jonathan Darr, 1964, Missoula, MT, Geoffrey Joseph Darr, 1966, Missoula, MT, and John Charles Darr, 1967, Ottumwa, Iowa.  

Rogene was a devoted mother to her young sons and created a happy home in Butte for many years.   She took a job as librarian at Hillcrest Elementary School, where her sons attended, and was able to do work she enjoyed and see her three boys throughout the work day.   She also became active in the local chapter of the AFL-CIO on behalf of union workers.   She enjoyed singing in a local chorus which performed at various holiday events throughout the city of Butte.  She and Al made it a point to bring the boys into the local mountains for picnics, campfires, hikes, fishing and mountain lake swimming, instilling in them great appreciation for the outdoors.   Rogene always enjoyed reading and could be found savoring early morning moments of solitude immersed in her books.   Al passed away in August, 1983.   In 1985, she married John Dodge of Butte, MT, and was with him 25 years until his passing.  

During her work career, Rogene worked for the Butte School District No. 1, the National Center for Appropriate Technologies (NCAT) in Butte, MT, the United States National Park Service in Yellowstone National Park as a timekeeper and administrative assistant, then for HRDC in Butte, Montana.  She suffered a debilitating stroke in 2003, which ended her working career, and lived throughout the state of Montana in various cities.  She rediscovered romance late in life and married Fred Mabe in Billings, Montana.  The rare nursing home wedding was highlighted on the front page of the Billings Gazette.  The two enjoyed each other’s companionship in her last years. 

      She lived to see her eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, who all brought her joy. 

She is survived by her three sons, James Darr (Shawn Mathes) of Livingston, Montana, Geoffrey Darr ( Schalene Tyson) of Gardiner, Montana, John Darr (Alana Zafft) of Mammoth, Wyoming, her grandchildren Jesse, Morgan, Maggie, Hayden, Nolan, Jordan, Sophia, Pauline and Johanna; her great-grandchildren Trenton, Brealyn and Finley; two sisters, Judy Wiegert of Lincoln, Nebraska, Sharon Moore of Grand Island, Nebraska,          

A family memorial celebration will be held in 2018, TBD.   Sympathy cards for the family may be mailed to John Darr PO Box 94 Yellowstone National Park, WY  82190. 

Arrangements are under the care of Franzen-Davis Funeral Home and Crematory.


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