PIQUA — Arlean (Ott) Clifton, 87, of Piqua, formerly of West Milton, passed away Tuesday, March 18, 2014, at Upper Valley Medical Center, Troy. She is preceded in death by her husband of 46 years Kenneth W. Clifton, her parents Willard and Hazel Mae (Ramer) Ott, and brother Ray Ott. She is survived by her daughter Katherine Clifton of Piqua.
Arlean graduated from Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., and pursued a 40 year career in newspaper journalism. She began in northern Ohio with the Fostoria Daily Review-Times, the Bowling Green Daily Sentinel-Tribune, and served as the editor of the McComb Herald. In this area, Arlean served on the news staffs of the Troy Daily News, Piqua Daily Call, West Milton Record, Stillwater Valley Advertiser, and from 1993-95, she was a correspondent for the Dayton Daily News. She was a longtime member of the Ohio Women's Newspaper Association. For most of her newspaper career it included covering government beats, national, state, and local criminal events, and wrote many historical features. For several years, she wrote a popular column, "Reflections," about people, places, and things. She won several newspaper writing awards.
During her four years as a student at Manchester College, Arlean never missed attending a single class. This unusual achievement was announced at the college's annual Senior Recognition Day in 1948, the year of her graduation. She said to this recognition, "I wanted to get my money's worth, so I attended every class."
Arlean founded the Union Township Historical Museum and Quaker Research Center in 1990 for which she served as the director. She was the principal founder of the Union Township Heritage Association in 1978 and served as president for many years.
During America's Bicentennial in 1976, Arlean was appointed general chairman of the West Milton Union Township American Revolution Bicentennial Committee. At that time, she researched and oversaw the construction of a replica of what is considered Union Township's first church, an 1804 Quaker log meeting house which is located in the West Branch Burial Grounds, southwest of West Milton. She succeeded in getting the log meeting house declared as an Ohio historical site.
Arlean served as a member of the West Milton Community Improvement Corporation for 13 years and was a past president of the organization. She was a member of the West Milton Planning Board for 6 years, a member of the West Milton Park Board for 4 years. She served as the secretary of the Milton-Union Parent-Teachers Association for 4 years and as its publicity chairman for several years. She was a member of the West Milton Historic Records Commission and a past secretary of the West Milton Chamber of Commerce. She served on the Friends of the West Milton Public Library Board when the present library was built in 1979 on South Miami Street, and served as publicity chairman for the project during the three years of its planning and construction.
In 1956, Arlean was appointed by the Ohio Governor Frank Lausche as chairman of the Wood County Ohio Traffic Safety Committee. While serving as chief reporter at the Bowling Green Daily Sentinel-Tribune, she had covered 51 traffic fatalities in 1955.
In 1957, Arlean was selected as an honorary member of Sigma Phi, an honorary for Women in Journalism at Bowling Green State University. Arlean had a great affection for her family, gardening, college basketball, collecting model ships, interior decorating, and was an avid reader of political science, history, and classical literature, of which she considered the Bible a very important part. She was Methodist by faith and baptism, and believed strongly in prayer. Arlean and her daughter were very close and Arlean said that Kathy was "a dream of a daughter," and was extremely proud of her accomplishments.
Funeral services will be held 10:30 a.m., Saturday, at Hale-Sarver Family Funeral Home, West Milton, with the Rev. Ed Ellis officiating. Interment will follow at Riverside Cemetery, West Milton. Family will receive friends from 4-7 p.m., Friday, at Hale-Sarver Family Funeral Home, West Milton. If so desired, contribution may be made to Milton-Union Public Library, 560 S. Main Street, West Milton, Ohio 45383. Online memories may be left for the family at www.hale-sarver.com.