Life Story / Obituary
Surrounded by her family, Arlene Marlys Harris, age 87, passed peacefully Thursday, March 16, 2023, at Aurora Mt. Pleasant Hospital. She was born in Gonvick, MN, September 28, 1935, daughter of Ellen (Petersen) Lindgren.
Arlene embraced her Norwegian heritage and cherished her childhood in northern Minnesota. She lived in Seattle while her mother worked for Boeing building B17 “Flying Fortress” bombers during World War II. Returning to the Midwest, she eventually settled in Racine. Arlene graduated from Washington Park High School “Class of 1953” after which she worked as a secretary at Johnson Wax. It was while working at Johnson Wax the love of her life, Richard J. Harris caught her attention by sending helium balloons up the R&D tower to her desk on a mezzanine level above his lab. They were united in marriage August 31, 1957, at the Fort Bliss Chapel in El Paso, Texas. They lived in El Paso for 3 years before returning to Racine.
Arlene was a wonderful cook and baker who will be remembered for her delicious cookies, pies, lefse, rum cake and meatloaf. She enjoyed sewing, quilting, and reading mystery novels. Arlene liked watching classic movies and could recall all the old film stars. Above all, she treasured time spent with her family especially her grandchildren who fondly remember her warmth, love, and that sense of “being at grandma’s house”. She was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother who will be dearly missed.
Surviving are her husband of 65 years, Rich; daughters, Kathy (Russ) Wortley, Chris (Peter) Walker; 4 grandchildren, William Wortley, Ian Wortley, Elise (Patrick) Maddox, Max Walker; stepbrother, Jon (Judy) Lindgren, nieces and nephews. Arlene was preceded in death by her mother, stepfather Verner Lindgren, and stepsisters, LaVerne (Lindgren) Helein and Amy Lindgren.
Funeral services will be held at the funeral home, Monday, April 3, 2023, 12pm with Rev. Laura Fladten officiating. Interment will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery, Hwy 32. Relatives and friends may meet prior to the service 11am – 12pm. Memorials to the charity of your choice or the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation https://www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org/get-involved/ways-to-give/tribute-program have been suggested.
The family wishes to extend a special thank you to the ICU staff at Aurora Mt. Pleasant Hospital for their loving and compassionate care.