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Obituary for Arlene M. Harris

Surrounded by her family, Arlene Marlys Harris, age 87, passed peacefully Thursday, March 16, 2023, at Aurora Mount Pleasant Hospital. She was born in Gonvick, Minn., on Sept. 28, 1935, the daughter of Ellen (Petersen) Lindgren.

Arlene Marlys Harris
Arlene Marlys Harris

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 on Aug. 31, 1957, at the Fort Bliss Chapel in El Paso, Texas. They lived in El Paso for three 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, and Chris (Peter) Walker; four grandchildren, William Wortley, Ian Wortley, Elise (Patrick) Maddox, and 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 Maresh-Meredith & Acklam Funeral Home on Monday, April 3, 2023, at noon with Rev. Laura Fladten officiating. Interment will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery, Highway 32. Relatives and friends may meet prior to the service from 11 a.m. until the time of service. Memorials to the charity of your choice or the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation have been suggested.

The family wishes to extend a special thank you to the ICU staff at Aurora Mount Pleasant Hospital for their loving and compassionate care.

Arlene Marlys Harris – Life Panel® courtesy of Maresh-Meredith & Acklam Funeral Home

Obituary and photo courtesy of Maresh-Meredith & Acklam Funeral Home

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