January 6, 1955 - June 23, 2022

 

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Arlene Louise Conklin was born to Aubrey and Alice (Deets) Conklin on January 6, 1955 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The middle of 7 children, she loved being a part of such a big family and remained close to all of her siblings all of the days of her life.

Arlene grew up in Sioux Falls and graduated from Washington High School in 1973. On June 12, 1976, Arlene was united in marriage to James "Jim" Alexander at the Eastside Presbyterian Church in Sioux Falls. Jim and Arlene would move to Montana for a short time as newlyweds but returned to the midwest, making their home in Sibley, Iowa, to have their first child and keep their home near their families. Jim and Arlene had three children; April, James, and Patrick. They lived and raised their family in Sibley. As a child, Arlene had been a Girl Scout and as a mother, she participated in scouting with her children. Over the years, the Alexander family enjoyed countless weekends and holidays with their large extended family at the Conklin home in Sioux Falls, camping trips with family and friends at Okoboji, Lake Shetek, and Alexandria, MN, and late summer days spent at the Spencer Fair "The World's Largest County Fair." Every Christmas, Arlene would make large batches of sugar cookies to cut out and decorate with her kids. While her children were young, Arlene stayed at home to raise them. When Arlene returned to working outside of the home, she began working for D&J Eggs in Boyden, Iowa. When Arlene left her job in Boyden, she spent her time as a caregiver to her husband and grandchildren. Above all else, Arlene was a nurturer to the children in her life.

Jim and Arlene moved to Rock Rapids in 2007. They enjoyed weekend visits from their children and grandchildren, and longer visits when they were able to take trips to Minnesota for a week or two. Their children enjoyed their company and being able to have so much time together. Over the years in Rock Rapids, Arlene cared for her granddaughter, Serena, and the two developed a bond that was uniquely special and will last forever.

On October 16, 2016, after 40 years of marriage, Arlene lost her husband, Jim. It was the first time in her life that she would live alone. As she navigated that change, she found things that she enjoyed doing and continued to live her life as fully as she could. She took a road trip with her cousin, Georgia, to Arizona to see her sister. She visited Minnesota, sometimes for weeks at a time, to spend time with her children and grandchildren there. She enjoyed doing puzzles, reading romance novels, having slumber parties with Serena, and family game nights playing Cards Against Humanity with her kids.

For many years, Arlene had respiratory problems that in the fall of 2020 became more worrisome and she was diagnosed with Interstitial Lung Disease. In July 2021, Arlene was given a prognosis that she had 6 to 12 months remaining of her life. After coming to terms with this news, Arlene moved to Sauk Rapids, Minnesota in November 2021 to spend her remaining days close to her children. With the assistance of the caring staff of St. Croix Hospice, she lived her final months as fully as she could going on outings as she was able, making those annual Christmas sugar cookies one more time, having CAH game nights in her tiny apartment, cooking goulash and chili with James and Patrick, and having slumber parties with April and Maddie bingeing Bridgerton. In May, Arlene survived having Covid and said defiantly "I kicked it's ass back to China!" She amazed her family with her endurance and remained determined and full of life, making her family laugh by cracking jokes, until the end. The last words she was able to speak were saying "I love you" to her children and grandchildren.

Arlene passed away peacefully in her home with her children by her side in the early morning hours of Thursday, June 23, 2022. Left to cherish her memory are her three children, April (Dan) Lange of Royalton, MN, James Alexander of St. Cloud, MN, and Patrick (Lacey Gerwing) Alexander of Little Falls, MN; fourteen grandchildren, Zoey, Maddie, and Jackson Lange, William, Autumn, and Isaiah Alexander, Landon Baran, Kaylyn Bowyer, Robert, Aiden, and Addison Alexander, Serena and Jovanny Carey, and Tybin Carey; her brother, Allen Conklin of Sioux Falls, SD and three sisters, Anita Adomat of Blue Grass, Iowa, Ruth (Doug) Schram of Mesa, AZ, and Rose (Lee) Meyer of Colton, SD; former daughter-in-law, Vanessa Alexander, close friends, Robin Terhaar and Tywone Carey, and many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family, and friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Jim; her parents, Aubrey and Alice Conklin; her brothers, Arvin and Robert Conklin; her parents-in-law, Leroy and Mary Alexander; and her brother-in-law, Ken Adomat.

A private celebration of Arlene’s life will be held in July when her family is gathered for their family reunion at the Conklin family home in Sioux Falls and her final resting place will be alongside her husband, parents, and brothers at Hills of Rest Cemetery in Sioux Falls.

May her memory be a blessing.