Arlene (Lee) Dorothy Heydlauff was born Septem-ber 1, 1931, in LaSalle, Illinois. The daughter of John and Sena (Grussing) Nyquist and sister of JoAnne, Lee’s family moved frequently throughout her school years, attending 10 schools in eight towns throughout Minnesota and Illinois.
After contracting polio, Lee spent her sixth grade year at the Gillette Children’s Hospital school. Her fondest memories of her school years were when the family lived Redwood Falls.
In 1949, Lee graduated from Redwood Falls High School. She met her future husband, Gilman, during this time. They were united in marriage November 4, 1950. In their early years of marriage, the young couple lived on the Heydlauff family farm in Sanborn with Gil’s mother and father. They had three children while living in Sanborn – Terry, Jodine and Cindy. They moved to Tipton, Iowa in the early 60s where their fourth child, Jay, was born. In 1967, the family settled in Buffalo Center, Iowa. Lee’s natural ability to make people feel welcome and comfortable made her a wonderful employee and friend. She worked for the Midwest Regional Food Service director in Tipton and at the Buffalo Center Clinic and Hospital before finding her perfect niche as a bank teller at Farmer’s Trust and Savings Bank. While at the bank, she was offered the job as the trip coordinator for the “Fifty Plus Club.” Lee loved researching and organizing trips for the group – sharing her infectious love of adventure and fun with many people.
As an active church member, she was a Luther League counselor and a member of the Ladies Circles. She made wonderful, lifelong friends.
Lee and Gil enjoyed traveling. They loved taking long drives to “check out the crops” and explore interesting Midwest towns and river areas. Her children have fond memories of singing “Someone’s in the Kitchen with Dinah” and “She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain” with their parents on these car trips. Lee always had a great love of the Mississippi and enjoyed just sitting by the water watching the boats go by. She said her most memorable trips were to Nassau, Las Vegas, Hawaii and Utah. For eight years, Lee and Gil wintered in Yuma, Ariz., meeting many new friends. While in Yuma, they were able to spend their Thanksgiving holidays with Terry, Jodie and her family and her sister JoAnne and her family.
Lee loved puttering in her kitchen. Her family remembers her lemon bars, rhubarb jam and scotcheroos, to name a few of her special treats. The kitchen table was also host to thousands of games of cards, Yahtzee and Chinese Checkers. She passed her love of these games onto her children and grandchildren. In her later years, Lee had more time to enjoy watching two of her favorites – the Minnesota Twins and the pro golf tour.
Page 2 of 2 - After her diagnosis of terminal cancer, she moved to Red Wing to live with her daughter Cindy and her family. Lee dearly missed her friends in Buffalo Center, but was able to spend cherished time with her sons, daughters and grandchildren. Arlene passed away as she wished – at her daughter’s home September 6, peacefully, surrounded by family and friends.
In addition to her parents, Lee was preceded in death by her husband, Gilman and her sister, JoAnne McDowell.
Left to cherish her memory are her children: Terry Heydlauff, Jodie (Craig) Carson, Cyd (Kevin) Mark and Jay Heydlauff; grandchildren: Jamie (Tara) Carson, Jennifer (Joseph) Miller, Joshua Carson, Kendall, Chloe and Gabrielle Mark, Lydia Heydlauff; great-granddaughter: Adriauna Miller and many wonderful cousins and dear friends.
Lee lived each and every day of her life with grace, kindness and eternal optimism. Her family and friends rarely saw her without a smile on her face. She continued her lessons on how to live throughout her last months – teaching us we should enjoy each day, no matter what life holds for us. She will be greatly missed and never forgotten.
The family will hold a visitation from 5-7 p.m. Friday, October 5 and a memorial service at 10 a.m. Saturday, October 6 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Buffalo Center, Iowa. Memorials preferred in lieu of flowers. Online condolences may be expressed at www.iowacremation.com.