Arline M. Smith
Arline M. Smith passed away peacefully on December 30, 2019 at age 79. Arline Mae Essenberg was born on May 25th of 1940 in Chicago to George and Helen Essenberg, the first of their four children. Later followed George, Helen, and Glenn. She grew up on the south side of Chicago in the suburb of Roseland. Arline was a high school girl in that classic age of the 1950s. A fashionista from the earliest age, to High School she wore dresses, cinched-in at the waist, pleated, polyester, or plaid or herringbone tweed skirts with a solid blouse, cardigan sweaters in cool weather, saddle shoes and bobby-socks. A four-year member of the ROTC, she was voted “ROTC Girl” her Junior year and was involved in starting the girl’s rifle team graduating from Fenger High School in 1958. Arline moved on to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Barely on campus her freshman year, she was nearly ran over by some guy flying by on his bike. This led to her M.R.S. degree as they fell in love. In 1960, Arline married Stuart Loren Smith on May 14 at Bethany Reformed Church by Dr. Harry J. Hager in Chicago at age 19. They honeymooned in the Wisconsin Dells. Arline’s first job was that of a hog farmer’s wife as their first home was in the “Hog Capital of the World,” Kewanee, IL where Stuart worked on one of the biggest hog farms. She very soon realized they were going to start a family. In 1961 Arline gave birth to Caroline Mae. Sadly she was born too tiny and became Arline’s only child that preceded her in death. Soon thereafter the newer-weds moved to Chicago and Stuart’s new business of tree removal curtesy of the Dutch Elm disease that was ravaging the city. In 1962 Damaris Mae screamed her way into the world. In 1963 Douglas Stuart followed. In 1964, Darese Mae. Arline’s brother George was busy running big sister to different hospitals in south Chicago those years as Stuart’s poor eyesight prevented him from driving (legally.) In 1967 Arline sent her three children to spend several weeks with Uncle Walt and Aunt Shirley (Stuart’s older sister) on their hog and cat farm outside of New Berlin, IL. That was to give Arline time to bring David James into her world. In 1970 Arline was blessed with her youngest daughter Deanne Helen. While God blessed the rapid expansion of Stuart’s tree removal business, Arline kept her children involved in all sorts of activities from sports to schooling. Music was preeminent as was church. The family never missed attending Sunday School, and Church, the Sunday night service, and the Wednesday service. Christian camps were a big part of her family’s life. Many summers were spent at Faith Bible Camp, Camp Manitoqua, Crescent Lake Bible Camp, or Camp Forest Springs. Arline also led the Children’s choir where all her children performed. In 1974 Stuart’s business relocated the family to Merrill, WI from Chicago. In 1977 Derek Daniel Paul joined the family. In 1980 Arline graduate Magna Cum Laude with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Milton College and worked for a few years in various hospital psych wards in the 1980s. As time rolls on as time always does, all her children grew, well equipped to be independent and successful in this life while grounded in the Christian faith in which she raised them. In 2000 Stuart sold his last business which allowed both Stuart and Arline to return to their roots. Stuart got back into farming with his son David with a wheat farm outside of Great Falls, MT. In 2009 Stuart’s heart stopped unexpectedly. In 2012 Arline moved back to the big city, this time to the Upper Manhattan area of New York City. With Riverside Park outside her window, Broadway just a block away, a subway system that can take you anywhere fast, and a 24 hour city, to her she was as close as possible to being in heaven on earth. In 2016 she was baptized into the Greek Orthodox Church. She spent the last seven years of her life in NYC passing away from a degenerative lung condition just one day before one her most favorite things, watching “the ball drop” in Times Square.
Arline was preceded in death by her husband Stuart, her daughter Caroline, her parents George and Helen, and her little brother Glenn. She is survived by six children, 17 grandchildren, and 9 great-grandchildren with 3 more on the way. She was laid to rest beside Stuart and Caroline in Elmira Cemetery in IL.
On Feb. 22, 2020 a Celebration of Life is set, 1-5pm, at her Merrill home church of St. John Lutheran. All who knew her are invited.