On August 21, 2020, Arlene Mathews left this earth and moved on to a closer walk with our Lord in Heaven. Arlene was born on July 1, 1929 on a farm near Lake Crystal, Minnesota, the youngest of five children (Donald, Evelyn, Alece, Leona, and Arlene) to Irvin and Myrtle Etherington. She attended early school in a one room school house with about 12 other children. The family moved to Vernon Center, and then to Algona, Iowa.
Arlene went to work for a small town doctor, who taught and encouraged her. She was accepted to Nursing School at St. Patrick’s School of Nursing in Missoula, Montana. It was in Missoula, where she met Miller Mathews. They dated for two years and were married at the Methodist Church in June of 1953. Later that year, they moved to Helena where Miller joined Union Bank and Arlene began her work with St. Peter’s Hospital in the OB Department. Helping bring new babies into the world was what she cherished. She worked night shifts for most of her 33 years, so that she could be home for her three boys during the day. Arlene and Miller were married for 60 years before his passing in 2013
Arlene retired from nursing but she did not retire as an avid volunteer. She was instrumental in starting the Annual Christmas Sock Sew for the babies and patients at the hospital. It was a tradition that she shared with her sons, who became the assistants in delivering socks on Christmas Eve. She is proud that the tradition continues after 60 years. She spent many afternoons in the hospital gift shop. She was proud to serve on the St. Peter’s Hospital board, as the hospital grew and expanded. She was recognized for her volunteer efforts that spanned over 65 years.
Arlene and Miller had three boys, Tim, Tom and Jon. They were very proud of their three Eagle Scouts. As a family they attended the First Baptist Church where she was the flower arrangement creator for many years. She loved flowers and loved sharing her love for the bright and vibrant colors. Many from her own garden. She loved dolls and frogs, and sharing them with the children at church during Sunday School and Summer Bible Camps. Sharing her special FROG story with them was one of her highlights.
Arlene had a great passion for P.E.O., an organization that supports scholarships for aspiring young women to continue their education. She was a state officer and attended several national conventions. She will be missed by her many P.E.O. sisters.
After a bit of negotiating with her sons, Arlene moved to Touchmark in 2018. She loved the wonderful staff there, and said that her little apartment was truly her home. With her doll collection in tow, she had the “Doll House” apartment.
Arlene was preceded in her death by her husband, Miller and her oldest son, Tim and his wife, Terry in addition to her siblings. She is survived by her son, Tom and his wife Maria who live in Great Falls. Her son, Jon resides in Boise, Idaho. She loved her grandchildren, Becky, David (Sara), Jon (Holly), Michael and Jason. And for extra joy she was blessed with great grandchildren, Khayler, Cecilia, and Lucas.
The family will receive friends from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 25th at Anderson Stevenson Wilke Funeral Home, 3750 N. Montana Ave. A private family burial will take place at a later date. The family asks that memorials be sent to the First Baptist Church of Montana, 201 8th Ave., Helena, MT 59601 or the St. Peters Hospital Foundation, 2475 Broadway, Helena, MT 59601. Please visit below to offer the family a condolence or share a memory of Arlene.