Arlene P. Laird, 81, a longtime resident of Clarkston, was accepted into heaven Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. She passed peacefully surrounded by family and friends after a sudden and unexpected diagnosis of metastatic cancer.
She was born Nov. 23, 1937, in Lewiston. Arlene met Dale E. Laird at the old Snow Crop pea plant in 1954, where they both spent the summer working. Grandpa always said their love story started when he winked his eye at Grandma, since they couldn’t talk much because of the loud machinery they were working near.
Arlene soon found herself at the University of Idaho, studying education with her sweetheart, Dale. They were then married Sept. 2, 1956, at Zion Lutheran Church in Juliaetta. Arlene graduated in 1959 after having her two sons, Rick and Jeff, with a Bachelor of Science in education and minors in music and psychology.
Dale and Arlene moved to Clarkston, where they have resided for the last 61 years. Arlene spent 31 of those years as a special education teacher with the Lewiston Public School District. She also taught voice and piano lessons on the side. Arlene was a devout Christian who loved attending Our Savior’s Lutheran Church every Sunday. She was an active member of the church, where she sang with the choir, directed the youth choir and participated in the church council.
She was an amazing wife and mother, but even more amazing grandmother, according to her four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She truly put others before herself, always doing what she could to put a smile on the faces of everyone. Arlene made friends in every store, school and town she visited and was always a bright light to others. In her free time, she loved telling stories of her childhood on the farm at Fix Ridge, playing the piano, traveling to the coast with friends in her camper and beautifully manicuring her flower-filled backyard.
Christmas was Arlene’s favorite holiday, so she always made it extra special for her grandkids. She spent the season decorating her house like a storybook by meticulously placing each decoration. Her Christmas tree was always the most beautiful and picture-perfect. Grandma spent the season baking dozens of Christmas goodies, taking her granddaughters shopping and carefully attaching her own handmade bows to each gift she lovingly picked out for everyone. She definitely gave Mrs. Claus a run for her money.
Arlene is survived by her beloved husband, Dale, who she celebrated 63 years of marriage with Sept. 2; sister Janice Lohman (Gary), of Lewiston; grandson Josh Laird (Celeste), of Cheney, Wash.; granddaughter Karley Poxleitner (Austin), of Juliaetta; grandson and granddaughter Brianne and Brendan Laird, both of Seattle; five great-grandchildren, Wesley, and twins Axel and Silas (Josh), Atlee and Walker (Karley); and her companion pup Yorkshire terrier, Rory, who Dale will now have to spoil even more.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Phyllis and George F. Dennler; her two sons, Rick and Jeff Laird; her daughter-in-law, Rhonda Laird; and her sister, Linda Wessels.
A service honoring Arlene Laird will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 1115 13th St., Clarkston. A reception will follow. Memorial donations can be sent to Our Savior’s or to a memorial of your choice.