Arlene Chandler Arlene Chandler (Bahr Vokoun), 94, died peacefully at home with her family present on April 4, 2017. Arlene was born in rural Wisconsin to Eleanor and Rueben Bahr. She lived in Wisconsin during her childhood and teen years and then in Chicago, Akron and Painesville, Ohio, Washington D.C., and Albuquerque, New Mexico before locating to San Luis Obispo in 1960. She is survived by her husband, Everett Chandler with whom she shared 53 years of love filled with companionship, fun, travel and many common interests such as political activity and ardent fan participation for sports, especially Cal Poly basketball and football. Arlene is also survived by two sons, Mark J. Chandler (Carolyn Tavares) and Bret A. Chandler (Junko); three step children, Alan Chandler (Judy Redmond), Ann Chandler (Joe Mikulsky) and Marge Chandler (Jim Archebault); granddaughter, Lea Chandler; and two step grandsons, Nick Mikulsky (Elizabeth Lucas) and Greg Mikulsky. She was preceded in death by her first husband, Harold Vokoun, who died of a heart attack at age 39. As a young widow with two sons, she relocated from New Mexico to San Luis Obispo in 1960 for a job at Cal Poly as Student Activities Advisor. One of Arlene's first accomplishments at Cal Poly was the creation of the "Week of Welcome (WOW)," a student orientation program that continues to the present and which is a model for Universities across the nation. She advanced to the position of Dean of Women in 1962 and joined the first teaching staff at Cuesta College in 1965, the first female professor hired by the college. At Cuesta she taught in the Social Science Division and pioneered the formation of the Human Development Division where she was that Division's first chair. She retired from Cuesta in 1986 after 31 years . Arlene loved learning. She graduated from Prairie de Sac, Wisconsin High School with high honors and became the first in her family to attend college at the University of Wisconsin, Madison where she majored in Journalism and had minors in Economics, English and Education. She graduated in 1944 with a BA degree and a Teaching Certificate. At her graduation she was named the Outstanding Woman in her class for having combined excellent scholarship with student leadership. She was the first woman to attain an executive position, that of Executive Business Manager, on the Daily Cardinal, one of the nation's oldest and most outstanding student newspapers. Later women students would say that she helped "crack the glass ceiling." In 2000 Arlene was inducted into the Daily Cardinal and Journalism Hall of Fame. Upon graduation, Arlene joined the Public Relations Staff of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio as part of the war effort. She was the first professional Public Relations woman ever hired by Goodyear, breaking the "glass ceiling" again. She moved to Chicago in 1945 where she worked at the Loop Center YWCA assisting women who had been industrially employed during the war and were transitioning to peace time employment. Newly married in 1947, she moved to Painesville, Ohio, Washington D.C. and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Arlene concentrated on raising her sons but also participated in many community activities. Arlene moved to SLO in 1960 for a position at Cal Poly. In 1964 Arlene married Everett and began a 53 year journey of love and adventure together. Arlene always gave back to the community and cherished time with friends. She was a lifelong member of the League of Women Voters. She was an active member of the United Church of Christ (Congregational Church) and helped build the Church in San Luis Obispo as a member since 1960. She was a leader in the local Democratic party and an active participant in the Cal Poly Women's Club, the Cuesta Retired Faculty and many other community organizations. Many honors have been awarded to Arlene. In 1987 Cuesta College named her "Woman of the Year" and in 2009 Cal Poly surprised her with the University Honored Alumni Award for Education at its Homecoming. In 2012, she and Everett were honored at Cal Poly with the dedication of the Quiet Study Room at the University Union as the "Chandler Room" recognizing their many years of support of the University. In the late 1960's, Arlene along with a few friends and volunteer professional counselors founded the "Family Services Center" to provide counseling and support services to those in need in our community, a service that did not exist at the time and which she supported to the present. Now known as the Community Counseling Center (CCC), the Center today helps hundreds of persons each year. Arlene was honored in 2013 as a Founder of the Center and annually, the "Arlene B. Chandler" award is presented to those who provide outstanding service to the Center. Arlene has maintained through the years that the best award of all has been a happy family life. She cherished the many family vacations around the world and the weekend picnics on the beaches and fields of San Luis County. With Everett they traveled across the globe from China to Europe to Brazil to Australia and from the Arctic to the Amazon to the Mekong to South America. They have always been the biggest Mustang fans, rarely missing a basketball or football game for decades, dressed in their Green and Gold. And they shared a love of learning and the importance of education, creating scholarships and support so all could receive an education. A Celebration of Arlene's Life will be forthcoming. The family asks that any contributions be made in her name to the Community Counseling Center at www.cccslo.com
or 805-543-7969. Sign her guestbook at sanluisobispo.com/obituaries
Published by San Luis Obispo County Tribune on Apr. 6, 2017.