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  • "Sorry for your loss,Arlene was a cool gal"
    - Mike Maas
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R. ARLENE SHANNON Mueller's Tri-Cities Funeral Home Arlene, age 81, passed away in her sleep April 8, 2016, at Brookdale Torbett Dementia Care Home in Richland, WA, ending a multi-year struggle with Alzheimer's Disease. She was born November 16, 1934, as a midlife surprise to her 54 year old father, Carl C, Williams and Ruth (Amon) Williams. Mrs. Williams was the sister of Howard Amon who founded the city of Richland in 1910 and Alfred Amon, five-time Mayor of Kennewick. Arlene's parents were Horse Heaven homestead wheat farmers who later moved to Kennewick to co-found the Farmer's Exchange in 1935. Arlene contracted polio while attending Kennewick High School. While confined to a wheelchair, she vicariously traveled the world by reading books about exotic places and cultures. Dreams of one day getting to travel herself helped her get well, and she was able to graduate high school with her class. She went on to graduate from Washington State College with a BS in Nursing. She began her nursing career at Kennewick General Hospital in 1957. Arlene met Donald Shannon, a scientist at Hanford Laboratories, who also shared her dreams of world travel. They were married August 2, 1958, and remained in loving union for 57 years. Arlene had a distinguished nursing career in the Tri-Cities. She juggled work duties with homemaking as mother of her three daughters, Shari, Kelli, and Erin. In 1977 she started at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, where she held positions as Education Coordinator, Director of Volunteers, and Safety Officer. Her hospital safety program received the 1979 "Safety Person of the Year" award from the Washington State Safety Council. She then obtained her ANA certification in clinical psychiatry and she became a charge nurse at the Carondelet Psychiatric Care Center until her retirement in 1994. Arlene also taught nursing at Columbia Basin College, was a volunteer on the Advisory Board for La Clinica and Hospice. She also volunteered at Maua Hospital in Kenya, East Africa. She was a member of Central United Protestant Church and devoted to the Chancel Choir, which went on several world tours. She served as Chairman of the Church Mission Commission from 1988-1991 and made three trips to Kenya with her husband to work with the Methodist Church in Kenya. After her husband retired they traveled the world and Arlene achieved her goal by visiting 50 countries and all seven continents. She spoke fluent French and Spanish and had a gift of easily changing her English to the same local accent of the people she visited. She also was interested in Native Americans. She became good friends with a woman from the Wanapum Tribe at Priest Rapids, who adopted her as a sister. The two of them toured Tri-City schools teaching about Native American customs. Arlene had remarkable patience and sincere concern for others. She became famous for defusing tense situations with one-liner jokes. On her wedding day her mother grew frantic, worried they would be late, but Arlene calmed the tension by quipping, "Mom, they won't start without me!" Arlene will be missed by all who knew her. She was preceded in death by her parents, sister and brother. She is survived by her husband, and her three daughters, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren, a nephew and several nieces. A Memorial Service is to be held at Saturday, April 16, 2:00 p.m., at Central United Protestant Church, 1124 Stevens Dr., Richland, Washington. A family graveside service was held Thursday, April 14. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Mission Commission of Central Church or the Alzheimer's Association, http://www.alzfdn.org The family invites you to sign their online tribute wall at www.muellersfuneral homes.com
Funeral Home
Mueller's Tri-Cities Funeral Home
1401 S. Union St.
Kennewick, WA 99338
(509) 783-9532
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Published in Tri-City Herald on Apr. 14, 2016