MEYER, ARLA MAE Arla Mae Meyer, 76, a devoted wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend passed away Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at her home with her children by her side. Arla was born on June 23, 1936 in Meadow, South Dakota to Paul Kenneth "Kenny" and Vivian Lowe. Six weeks after her birth and thanks to a siege of grasshoppers that wouldn't leave the netting from Arla's bassinet alone, Kenny and Vivian decided to take their precious baby to Washington, then to Anaheim and finally to Castro Valley, where Arla graduated from Hayward High School in 1954. On December 4, 1954, Arla Mae married Jack Bernard Meyer at All Saints Catholic Church in Hayward, California. Jack's business ventures led their family from the Sacramento area to El Cajon, California, Newport, Rhode Island, Wilton, Connecticut and back to La Mesa, California where they resided for many years. At the top of her list were her five children and later in life, her thirteen grandchildren. Arla was so passionate about her family, she wrote a published book, "Dakota Pioneers" that detailed the Basford Family, her mother's side. Wherever Arla lived, she became very involved with that community. She was the epitome of a multi-tasker. No one could take on as much as Arla did. While living in East County, San Diego, Arla belonged to many community organizations. She was a founding member of the Friends of East County Arts. She was dedicated to giving back to her community. During this time, she was honored with the Woman of the Year award. Arla's life was full of love and laughter. She embraced any opportunity to dance, play dress-up with her grandkids, host craft parties and to take get away trips with her girlfriends where innocent mischief was always included. Arla was a true giver. Anyone reading this obituary that knew her just nodded their head in agreement. She gave to everyone she met, old friends, new friends, family, honestly, everyone. "I" was not in her vocabulary her life was devoted to others. Arla was blessed with a life of travel and a spirit for adventure. There wasn't a museum she didn't want to visit, a city she didn't want to explore or a culture she didn't want to learn about. Her travels took her to six continents and over 40 countries. Each of those trips held a very special place in Arla's heart. She brought back a piece of each of those countries and shared them with friends and family when she entertained. Entertaining was her specialty themed parties, menus from around the world, music, laughter and warmth. Making EVERYONE feel at home and welcome was definitely one of Arla's many gifts. Arla is survived by her children, Linda and Willie O'Bryan, Julie and Steve Hamm, Jill Meyer, Richard and Cindy Meyer and Kristan and Scott Sheppeard; her grandchildren Corey O'Bryan, Kelly O'Bryan, Josh Huffaker, Emilie Meyer, Haley O'Bryan, Alec Meyer, Bo O'Bryan, Olivia Meyer, Brogan O'Bryan, Madison Meyer, Jackson Sheppeard, Reagan Sheppeard and Easton Sheppeard; her brother Terry Lowe; her sister Kim Stohlman; her dear friend and caretaker Rosa Maria Medina and many loving cousins, nieces and nephews, in-laws, family and friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, Jack Meyer; her parents Kenny and Vivian Lowe; and her sister Donna Paredero. There will be a memorial mass at Our Lady of the Sierra Mission in Arnold, California on March 23rd at 2 p.m. Following the memorial service, there will be a visit to the Buena Vista Cemetery and then a Celebration of Life gathering (in true Meyer style) at Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys, California. All are welcome, please let Kristan know if you plan to attend as the Celebration of Life will be a dinner and there is a group reservation block at the Murphys Suites (Kristan-928-246-9108.) The family will hold a private burial service in February. There will also be a mass for the intentions of Arla at Blessed Sacrament in San Diego at 10 a.m. on Sunday, March 17th. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to KIDS CuddleKit Closet, a non-profit founded by Arla's daughter, Kristan. All donations will go directly to serving children in need of kindness. KIDS CuddleKit Closet, 340 W. 32nd St. #354 Yuma, Arizona 85364. Arla's family will be notified of all donations.

Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on Feb. 10, 2013