As many of you may have already heard, Arlene passed away early Saturday morning. We shall definitely miss her warm personality, her loyalty, her humor, her attention to detail, and her care for all the things that the others in the office often do not think about readily. Arlene was always one to go above and beyond for her family, her friends, her co-workers and our clients.
Arlene was always one that clients felt an immediate bond with. She was constantly snapping pictures and taking a genuine interest in their lives. She also was very diligent and put in the hours to get things done, to the extent that I would have to cajole her to go home and enjoy herself. You could find her singing or dancing to the music we would have at our boat events. She was always one to join in the fun.
You can follow a link here to see her singing Karaoke on the boat last year.
Arlene and I have spent many hours together over the last few years. When people work together, many times we spend more time with those people than we do with our own family. You get to know their strengths, their weaknesses and their idiosyncrasies. She was able to handle and was very patient with my quirkiness.
A few years ago I was in the habit of taking and eating a banana on the go, bringing the peel into the office and throwing it away in the first available garbage can. Most of the time this happened to be in the reception area where Arlene sat the last few years after she came back from retirement. Arlene would occasionally find the banana peels and it soon became a running joke for Arlene to find banana peels in different locations around her work area. We were somewhat creative about the locations and she was always a good sport about this.
Arlene volunteering with us at the beer festival last year.
Arlene would also like to tell us many adventures of hers on the hiking trails and how she would inadvertently find herself in precarious but very funny situations with other hikers (and sometimes complete strangers) on many of these trips. She seemed to always come away with a few new friends after these adventures.
Her freedom and her family were very important to her. She was close to so many people, had a large support network and a vibrant full life here in Chattanooga. She retained close relationships with many people she used to work with at JC Bradford and Raymond James, but her closest relationships she maintained were with the people in the hiking club.
I remember calling her to wish her a happy birthday a few years back when she told me that she was missing being involved in the workforce but did not want to give up her Wednesdays or Saturdays. These days were solely devoted to hiking. We just happened to have a position available at the front desk and this was a great match for both of us. She would always have great stories to tell and pictures to share of her hiking adventures. She seemed to recruit many clients to come hike with her as well. I know it was a great love of hers.
Arlene enjoyed her independence and her friends here in Chattanooga but also felt a pull to be closer to her son Chris, her granddaughter Josie and the rest of her family in Denver. I know that she was very torn between being closer to her family, especially Josie, and her network of friends here in town. In the office we felt it was just a matter of time before she put on the mantle of full time grandmother and moved to Denver.
Of course, God had other plans for Arlene. She lived a long fruitful life and I feel honored to have worked with her and known her for the last decade of her life.
She will be sorely missed.
Arlene and Josie