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December 31, 2023
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Of Minnetrista, passed away December 31, 2023. Daughter of Henry Blood and Helen Johnson. Preceded in death by husband Joe; brothers and sisters Doris McMahon (Art), Edna Cahoy (Don), Walter Brooks (Regina), Alice Okonek (Don) and Wayne Brooks (Ione), and many dear in-laws, relatives, and friends. Survived by children and grandchildren Marko (Bobbi), Joseph and Robert Mrkonich; Betty (David), David and Kathryn Hirschfeld; and Kathryn (Bruce) and Eric Wilson.
Arlene was born on February 15, 1932, in Polk County, WI, and was valedictorian of the Frederic Class of 1949. She obtained a teaching degree from Superior State Teachers College in 1951. She then taught second graders in Siren, WI, where she met the new football coach, Joe (of Eveleth). In 1952, he became her husband of 58 years.
Arlene and Joe moved to Thief River Falls in 1952, where they were joined by Marko and Betty and lived until 1963. Arlene worked in a bank there and supported farmers with record-keeping, while Joe coached the Prowlers. In 1963, Arlene and Joe moved to Duluth where Joe became a coach at East High School and Arlene obtained bachelor's and master's degrees at UMD. After they welcomed Kate, Arlene began employment with the Duluth Public Schools as a librarian – first in 1970 at Morgan Park High School and then Woodland Jr. High, where she pioneered the use of technology in an expanded multi-media resource center.
After 24 years of teaching, Arlene retired to spend more time with her family. Along the way, she was a member of Duluth's Holy Rosary parish and later, the Church of St. George in Long Lake. In Duluth, she was also a member of a bridge club for over 3 decades, an officer of the local AAUW chapter, a docent at UMD's Tweed Museum of Art, and a part-time instructor in the College of St. Scholastica's Library Science program.
Arlene excelled and found ultimate fulfillment in her role as loving partner, mother, and grandmother. An avid fan of the Minnesota Gophers, Twins, Vikings, and Wolves, Arlene took special delight in preparing homemade everything and entertaining generations of friends, relatives, and colleagues. In 2011, she overcame a bout with cancer and Joe's death to thrive for another decade, living independently, working on her computer, and planning 2024 events until the day she died. She read 89 books in 2023 – one for almost every year of her life.
At Arlene's request, please remember her in your special way. There will be no public funeral service. Arlene's wish was that any memorials be directed to the Minnesota Boychoir, 75 W. 5th St., Suite 411, St. Paul, MN 55102, or https://boychoir.org. May she rest in peace.
"But be glad for me if I can die in the presence of friends and family. If this happens, believe me, I came out ahead. I didn't lose this one." (Raymond Carver)