Darlene Nicole Longo

Darlene Nicole Longo, affectionately called “Pookie” by her grandchildren and other loved ones, passed away on March 1, 2023. Born in Detroit on December 31, 1934, to Albert and Evelyn Hoorelbeke, Darlene brought to that winter a brightness, life, and color that would continue for all of her 88 years.

At the passing of her mother when Darlene was only ten, she lived with and was under the care of her older sister, Nanette Sinutko (deceased). Darlene shared those years of her childhood and youth with Nanette’s oldest son, Michael Sinutko (deceased), and considered him as a brother and closest friend.

She loved learning and did well in school. During her time at St. Benedict high school in Highland Park, she excelled in English and art, played the piano, acted in school plays, was class president and, at the age of sixteen, managed the Robert Hall clothing store. She often said her love of fabric and design was inspired by the many films she was taken to as a young child. “Some people can name the actors in a movie,” she said recently, “but I could always name the costume designers.”

While at St. Benedict, she met the love of her life, Bill Longo, whom she married. They had seven children and were one month shy of 50 years of marriage at his passing in 2004.

Darlene’s household was full of color and music and books – and globes of the world. She enjoyed reading, especially psychology books and all types of newspapers and magazines. She collected (and created) pottery pieces, and her walls were filled with framed art and photographs. Many were photographs that she, herself, had taken.

Her house was also filled with children, and then grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all enriched and nurtured by the fruits of her own curiosity and her full engagement with creativity and life.

Though she stopped working to raise her children, she would often write, including letters to editors about current social justice situations and contributions to the column of Free Press writer Bob Talbert (deceased), who gave her the moniker “Big Red.” When Darlene went back to work as manager of her daughter’s carry-out restaurant, many customers would stop in especially to get one of her “Big Red’s All-American Chocolate Chip Cookies” and to chat with her.

When not working at the restaurant, Darlene’s life still revolved around children. She enjoyed taking her grandchildren and great-grandchildren many places, especially to parks and the DIA. There would be, always within reach, paper and paints and crayons, blocks and books and musical instruments of all kinds, and their own favorite special snacks or treats. Until just a few years ago, Darlene volunteered as a school “recess grandma” and was a favorite of the kids and staff there.

Missing her greatly are her children, Honey (Tim) Murray, Laurie Longo, Terry (Michelle) Longo, Susan (Holland) Wilson, Kelly Longo (Mark Grzybowski), Dante Longo; son, Bill Longo, is deceased; her ten grandchildren, Suzanne (Mark) Hansell, Michael Longo, Amadea Longo, Indigo Longo, Benjamin Longo, Danielle (Bradley) Gordon, Samantha Superstine, Elizabeth Superstine, Christopher (Kelly) Tylenda, Nathan (Megan) Tylenda and ten great-grandchildren, Vincent, Sonja, and Dominic Hansell; Sidney and Charlie Gordon; Brooklynn and Tyler Tylenda; Thomas, Zachary ,and Lucy Tylenda.  She is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

Her funeral Mass will be at 12:00 noon on Saturday, March 18, at St. Mary of the Hills Catholic Church (2675 John R. Rd; Rochester Hills; 48307). For those who have asked, some of Darlene’s favorite charities include the Capuchins (capuchins.org), the Wounded Warrior Project (woundedwarriorproject.org), the Salesian Missions (salesianmissions.org), and student-run radio station WAHS (wahsradio.org).

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  1. Patty and Joe Stearns

    What a beautiful story of a life well-lived. Our condolences to Honey and her family. Love, Patty and Joe Stearns

  2. Honey, felt like I knew her after reading this great obit. I send my deep sympathy to you and yours. Carol Kozel

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