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Barbara Milne Arneson



Barbara Milne Arneson, 93, Sioux Falls, died Thursday, May 9, 2013, at Dow Rummel Village in Sioux Falls. There will be a memorial service at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, May 13 at the Dow Rummel Village Chapel, in Sioux Falls, preceded by a private burial in Woodlawn Cemetery in Sioux Falls.

Barbara Lee Milne Arneson was born May 11, 1919, in Haverhill, Massachusetts, to Morton R. and Lulu Smith Milne. She grew up and attended school in Haverhill, and was graduated from Haverhill High School in 1937. She began college, but her father's sudden death altered the Milne family plans. She left college and enrolled at The Children's Hospital School of Nursing in Boston, completing the three-year program in September, 1941.

In the course of her training, she took care of a fourth-year Harvard Medical School student from Irene, South Dakota, who had broken his leg. Our father, Wallace (Wally) A. Arneson always claimed when she walked into his room it was love at first sight--at least for him.

"Babs" and Wally were married on December 27, 1941, and upon his graduation from medical school, moved to Cleveland where they lived for his surgical internship and residency training and had their first child, Deborah in 1945. In 1946 they moved to Sioux Falls where Wally began his general surgery practice and where they raised their four children, Debby, Wallace, Jr., ("Gaard"), Nancy and Jon.

While she devoted much of her time to "organizing" her childrens' lives, Barbara enjoyed reading, playing bridge, and watching her British sitcoms on PBS. Although the polio she contracted on her honeymoon impaired her natural athleticism, her love of sports never waned. She continued swimming into her 94th year and enjoyed watching a wide range of sporting events throughout her life. And despite playing almost no golf, she managed to match her golfer husband by making a hole-in-one while playing in Florida in 1959.

Barbara was a volunteer for various non-profits, served as president of the YWCA board and was a member of both Sioux Valley Hospital and McKennan Hospital Auxiliaries. She was a member of First Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls.

Along with her husband, Barbara was a long-time supporter of the symphony, both the YMCA and YWCA, Augustana College and various national and local organizations.

In addition to her life in Sioux Falls, Barbara enjoyed the time she and her family were able to spend on Siesta Key, Sarasota, Florida, and Rye Beach, New Hampshire.

As the years went by, Barbara enjoyed following the lives of her family and hosting small social gatherings with her friends in order to keep on top of the news. She also continued to read avidly, play cards and Scrabble and work on her crossword and Sudoku puzzles. Although she pretended to be competitive--and took a little pleasure in winning her last two games of rummikub--she was always happy to be beaten by one of her grandchildren.

In her last weeks, Barbara loved to have letters written by her grandchildren read to her over and over again so she could cherish the memories they evoked.

She died leaving behind many friends and a loving family, all of whom would like to thank the staff at Dow Rummel for the transitional care and support they provided throughout the past two months. In particular, the family especially thanks Barbara's special friend, Sue, for all the love and attention she provided throughout the toughest days.

Barabara is survived by her four children, Deborah Parsons (Howard Sanders), Columbus, Ohio, Wallace (Gaard) Arneson, Jr. (Ellen), Ann Arbor, Michigan, Nancy Pourciau (Bruce), Appleton, Wisconsin, and Jon E. Arneson, Sioux Falls, nine grandchildren, Will and Chris Parsons, Laura and Jon M. Arneson, Sarah, Seth and Emily Pourciau and Rebecca and Dana Arneson and six great-grandchildren, Meghan, Charlotte, Mackenzie, Eliah, Penelope and Sloane.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Wallace, and her two brothers, Morton and Gordon Milne.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any memorials be direct to the Sioux Falls YMCA for use in youth programs.

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Published in The Argus Leader on May 12, 2013
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