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Arlene Edythe Will

January 29, 1933 October 13, 2015
Arlene Edythe Will
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Obituary for Arlene Edythe Will

Arlene Edythe Will, 82, died Tuesday, Oct. 13, from complications of an infection. A Brookings resident since 1985, she lived the past five years in Ocean Park’s memory unit. Arlene was born Jan. 29, 1933, to Harold and Lois Lestico in Pasadena, Calif. The family moved to Springfield, Ore., in 1944. She graduated from Springfield High School and went on to earn a B.S in primary education from Ashland State College. As a college student, Arlene belonged to a choral group that performed at Brookings High School during its annual tour. She was impressed with the town and years later she called her husband’s attention to Brookings as they began scouting potential retirement locations. She began her teaching career in Stockton, Calif., moving south after two years to Ventura, and further south two years later to Long Beach. She finally settled in Buena Park for the remainder of her career, where she crossed paths with fellow teacher Wes Will. They traveled to Carmel, Calif., to marry in 1965. For the next 45 years they returned to Carmel to celebrate each anniversary, except for one year when they took a Caribbean cruise instead. Arlene was a California Master Teacher who mentored other teachers and was a demonstration teacher for a textbook company. But her greatest joy was teaching reading. She described the look on a child’s face at the magical moment when they understood the written word and the world of books was opened to them. She remained an avid reader throughout her life, collecting the complete works of her favorite authors, until dementia took away her ability to read in 2010. Arlene also loved to travel, and she and Wes visited all 50 states—49 of them in a 5th-wheel travel trailer—admiring and photographing the variety of the country’s natural beauty. One of her favorite entertainment destinations was Ashland’s Shakespearean festival. Her other hobbies included sewing, cooking and cake decorating, a talent that extended to making wedding cakes for friends. She was a gourmet cook until 1987 when her husband had a quintuple heart bypass surgery; she then dedicated herself to becoming an expert heart-healthy cook. Arlene loved to celebrate all holidays and to remember friends and loved ones with cards and letters, and she enjoyed sharing a proper English tea with like-minded friends. She also had a series of pampered cats throughout her adult life. She was a member of Brookings Presbyterian Church where she served many years as the superintendent of the Sunday School program. Arlene is survived by her husband, Wes, as well as cousins, nieces and nephews. She was predeceased in death by her parents and sister Donna. A memorial service is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. today [[Sat., Oct. 17, 2015]] at Brookings Presbyterian Church, 540 Pacific Ave. Redwood Memorial Chapel is assisting the family. Condolences may be expressed online at www.redwoodmemorial.net.

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