Darlene K. Warner, '62

Yearbook image of Darlene Warner
Current image of Darlene Warner

Darlene left Oakfield in 1962, but only long enough to graduate from Alfred Tech. She returned to Oakfield and worked for many years in the accounting field. In 1984, she and her husband Jerry purchased the flower shop and greenhouse on Drake Street from her father, Al Warner. The business was started in 1915, but significant changes were occurring in the flower business by the 1980s. Darlene recognized this, so she moved her store to Main Street and added lines to the business to make it successful. Her love for her home town is shown not only by the way she runs her business, but by her active involvement in preserving the history of the town and village.

As a business woman, she often is called upon to respond 24/7 to calls for flowers for funerals, weddings, proms, the sick and shut-ins, birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions. She is always there in a time of need, and can be relied upon to deliver beautiful flowers or special fruit baskets. Former residents who have left the area call from across the country to have Darlene handle their special requests. She carries on a tradition - the flower shop in Oakfield - that has been in existence for almost 100 years.

Darlene's passion is the history of Oakfield - something that keenly interests us today, but also benefits generations to come. She has been involved the Oakfield Historical Society almost from its beginning, and as a charter member has been on its board for 12 years, five years of which she was the President. She worked diligently to raise funds for purchase of the home on Maple Avenue that now houses the museum, and has researched the past to incorporate artifacts and displays that tell of the community and its past. She speaks to organizations about Oakfield history, hosts tours of the museum, and has chaired many fund raisers to support the museum. Her desire to bring history to life in the museum has taken her to many states to find long lost family members - and sometimes articles for the museum. She has authored two books, Main Street Ablaze, that chronicles the 11 major fires that changed the face of Main Street, and a newly released book, The Glory Years, depicting Oakfield's industrial boom from 1885 to 1925. She has researched how other communities go about preserving their history so that we have the best practices here. Darlene is accumulating - and will leave for others in the future - a rich history of our home town - Oakfield.