Arlene Wood, 84, passed away on Sunday, April 28, at Hospice House of Mid-Michigan.
She leaves behind her beloved husband of nearly 63 years, Arthur Wood. Arlene is survived by her four children: Erin (Mark) Walling, Teresa (Larry) Zuker, Gregory (Kathy) Wood, and Cameron (Heather) Wood. She was an amazing grandmother and maker of the world’s best chocolate chip cookies to Christopher (Emily) Walling, Megan Walling, Zachary (Ursula) Zuker, Ian Wood, Nathan Wood, Liam Wood, and Evan Wood. In addition, Arlene is survived by her brother, Gary (Tammy) Steere, and sister-in-law Ardeth Steere. She was preceded in death by her parents, and brother, William Steere. Arlene will also be greatly missed by a number of nieces, nephews, cousins, and cherished friends.
Arlene was born July 21, 1934 in a cobblestone house built by her grandfather in Crystal, Michigan. Her parents, William and Lillian (McConkie) Steere were dairy farmers, helping to pave her way to be crowned Six County Dairy Queen in 1952. Following high school, she attended County Normal at Central Michigan University to train as a teacher. Her educational career began at a one room country school house near Edmore, Michigan in 1953. After taking a 13 year hiatus to start her family, she returned to college in 1970 to earn in B.A. in education and resumed teaching for many years in the St. Johns Public School system.
Art and Arlene met at the Crystal Roller Rink and were married at Crystal Congregational Church on June 30, 1956. They enjoyed many happy years together, focusing their lives on creating a loving, happy family. Their home was welcoming, supportive, and encouraging to all who entered. Camping vacations with their kids evolved into world travel adventures for the two of them in retirement. Art and Arlene had great fun in the winter months spending time in Florida with the brothers and sisters of the Wood Family.
During her hiatus and retirement years, Arlene was a tireless volunteer at First Congregational Church as a teacher, a member of the hand bell choir, funeral lunch coordinator, and long time member of the Linda Scott Division. Arlene was also involved in the greater St. Johns’ community. She worked tirelessly to raise funds for the new public library, and was an active member of the St. Johns Garden Club. Arlene was a voracious reader, with a stack of library books always next to her chair and a pile of magazines waiting to be examined. She showed her creative side in the vibrant colors of her flower garden and the quilts she lovingly made for her family members as gifts.
A celebration of Arlene’s life will be held Friday, May 3, 2019 at First Congregational Church in St. Johns at 3:30 PM. The family will receive visitors prior to the service beginning at 2:00. The address of the church is 100 Maple Avenue.
When asked what her funeral should be like, Arlene said, “Please don’t wear black. Ask everyone to wear bright colors. Also, I would like people to laugh, so whoever talks, be funny.” We hope you consider Arlene’s wishes when you choose your funeral attire.
In lieu of flowers, Arlene prefers donations to the Brigg’s Public Library, First Congregational Church, or the Clinton Sparrow Infusion Center.
The doctors and nurses who cared for her during her final illness, often commented that she was a “feisty little thing”, who always had a positive attitude. We thank all of her caregivers, but the Wood family sends a special thank you to all her nurses: Regina, Marci, Rachel, Paula and Sally. The family was assisted with these arrangements by Keck-Coleman Funeral Home, St. Johns.