Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Arlene Cur­tis

| October 27, 2021 1:00 AM

Arlene Cur­tis, 99, passed away peace­ful­ly sur­round­ed by her loved ones on the af­ter­noon on Sep­t. 29, 2021, af­ter a week-long stay at North Val­ley Hos­pi­tal.

She was dis­charged and was then in the care of Hos­pice a week be­fore her death. She returned to her beloved home where she lived with her old­er son, Ran­dall and daughter-in-law, Kristi for more than 20 years. Her younger son, Ter­ry, and his wife Anne were also with her, as were two of her grand­chil­dren, Kel­ly and Max.

Kel­ly had giv­en birth to her first child, Castin, on Sep­t. 24 and Ar­lene lived long enough to meet, hold and kiss him and mar­vel at her great for­tune. Every­one was thankful that great-grand­moth­er Ar­lene got to see her hand­some great-grand­son Castin just five days be­fore she passed.

Ar­lene was also the grand­moth­er of Jeff and Lind­sey Cur­tis, Ter­ry and Anne’s son and daugh­ter, whom she loved dear­ly. Ar­lene had a large group of ex­tend­ed fam­i­ly and friends and was every­one’s fa­vorite because of her au­then­tic kind­ness and sweet, giv­ing na­ture. She will be great­ly missed by all, but nev­er for­got­ten.

Ar­lene was born July 29, 1922, in St. Joseph, Mis­souri, to Archie and Ruth Cof­fey, fol­lowed short­ly there­after by her broth­er, Car­men. The fam­i­ly moved to Neosho when she was about four years old and where she and Car­men grad­u­at­ed from high school. For rea­sons known only to him, Archie left his wife and fam­i­ly when Ar­lene was four and Car­men only two. He nev­er con­tact­ed them again. With­in about a year, how­ever, Ruth re­mar­ried a wid­ow­er, Don Sechrist, who was the fa­ther of Clifton and He­len who would be­come Ar­lene and Car­men’s step-broth­er and sis­ter. Ar­lene’s child­hood was mod­est, but it pro­vid­ed the foun­da­tion that would make her the per­son she was; a kind and gen­er­ous soul who had deep feel­ings for and al­ways want­ed to help oth­ers. Those qual­i­ties would be­come the core of her adult life.

The de­sire to help oth­ers man­i­fest­ed it­self with Ar­lene be­com­ing a regis­tered nurse, grad­u­at­ing near the top of her class in 1943 from the Drury Col­lege Nurs­ing 1 Pro­gram, which was lo­cat­ed in Spring­field. After grad­u­a­tion, she worked at a hos­pi­tal in Joplin for about a year and then de­cid­ed that she would join the Army Nurse Corps to help her coun­try’s fight against tyran­ny; World War ll. She trained at Camp Carson in Col­orado and grad­u­at­ed a 2nd Lieu­tenant. Af­ter grad­u­a­tion, she trav­eled ex­tensive­ly in the Eu­ropean The­ater dur­ing the war. She was in Eng­land, France, Bel­gium, Italy, and Ger­many from May 1944 to March 1946. In De­cem­ber 1945, she was working in the hos­pi­tal in Heidel­berg, Ger­many where Gen­er­al George Pat­ton had been ad­mit­ted for in­juries sus­tained from a ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dent and who died short­ly thereafter. Ar­lene re­ceived two Over­seas Bars and the The­ater Vic­to­ry medal.

Her broth­er, Car­men, was also a dec­o­rat­ed World War ll vet­er­an and was a fight­er pi­lot in the Air Force, fly­ing both the P-47 and P-52 com­bat air­craft. He re­ceived three Bronze Stars. Ar­lene and Car­men were part of the “Great­est Gen­er­a­tion” and are true Amer­i­can heroes.

Ar­lene’s trav­els in Eu­rope ig­nit­ed her love of trav­el. Once she’d seen the Swiss Alps and had been to places like Lon­don, Brus­sels, La Havre and Paris, Neosho Missouri came up a lit­tle short by com­par­i­son. So at age 24 she took a train to Seat­tle by her­self and found em­ploy­ment with a lo­cal hos­pi­tal. Af­ter about a year of liv­ing in Seat­tle, she took the train to San Fran­cis­co on a lark with no job prospects, but quick­ly found em­ploy­ment with as sec­re­tary with a pub­lish­ing com­pa­ny. She loved tak­ing the trolley car to work. Af­ter a short stay in San Fran­cis­co, she again took the train head­ing to San Diego, but there was a lit­tle slip up on the way. The train de­railed just out­side of San­ta Bar­bara, and she wound up lik­ing that city so much she stayed and found a nurs­ing job with Cot­tage Hos­pi­tal in short or­der. Then, one Fri­day evening, her roommate, fel­low train trav­el­er and best friend, Juani­ta, sug­gest­ed they go to a dance. Arlene didn’t re­al­ly want to go but didn’t want to dis­appoint her friend ei­ther, so she went. There, a hand­some war vet­er­an named Dale Cur­tis asked to dance. They talked too and amaz­ing­ly found that they had some­thing in com­mon; Neosho! Who would have thought? When she told Dale that Neosho was her hometown, it floored him because he had been dis­charged from the Army at Camp Crow­der, which was just on the out­skirts of Neosho. They both agreed that it was a small world and were thank­ful for it. Dale was fond of jok­ing that it was their des­tiny to be to­geth­er. All that fate need­ed, he said, was a lit­tle help from a train wreck and a world war! Ar­lene and Dale mar­ried June 3, 1950, and lived in San­ta Bar­bara for the next almost 50 years. They had two sons, Ran­dall and Ter­ry, and were close to Dale’s moth­er and two broth­ers who also lived in San­ta Bar­bara. When Dale passed away in December 1998 Ar­lene then came to live with Ran­dall and his fam­i­ly in Red­wood City and when they moved to Mon­tana in Sep­tember 2000, she was as ex­cit­ed to move there as they were. The house they moved into had a won­der­ful view of every­thing Mon­tana has to of­fer and as an an­i­mal lover, her room pro­vid­ed her with a front-row seat to watch and en­joy all types of wildlife pass­ing by her pic­ture win­dow on a dai­ly ba­sis. She loved Mon­tana and all of its beau­ty and charm. She was also an avid Griz foot­ball fan and watched all of their tele­vised games.

Ar­lene was hap­py to be able to take care of her­self for all but about the last two weeks of her long and amaz­ing life. With 21 years of it in Montana, she was very appreciative of the doc­tors and nurs­es who took such ex­cel­lent care of her, es­pe­cial­ly Dr. Da­niel Mun­zing.

Ar­lene was a kind and gen­er­ous per­son, and she touched many lives with her desire to make oth­ers hap­py. In her mem­o­ry, please do­nate to any an­i­mal sup­port group or Hos­pice. She is sur­vived by her sons, Ran­dall and Ter­ry, and their wives Kristi and Anne, grand­chil­dren Jeff Cur­tis, Kel­ly Cur­tis, Lind­sey Cur­tis and Max Cur­tis and great grand­son, Castin Rem­mel.

The Co­lumbia Mor­tu­ary is tak­ing care of the fam­i­ly. They would also like to thank the won­der­ful nurs­es of North Val­ley Hos­pi­tal and Lo­gan Hospice who took such good care of her in her fi­nal days.

A memo­r­i­al will be held some­time dur­ing the spring of 2022.