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Arlene Holen

Obituary of Arlene Margaret Holen

Our world lost a fiercely independent lady, Arlene Holen, on October 23, 2020.  She kind-of called it quits after we celebrated her 101st birthday on September 30th at Valley View Care Center in Houston, MN.  Twice that day she said, "I love you all!"  She learned and earned that independence and responsibility young.  Her father died when she was seven and the grieving and economic depression years that followed were desperate for her and her mother.  


At South High School in Minneapolis, she and six other girls formed the "Gotta' Cop a Guy" club.  They all did, they all got and stayed married, and the resulting couples all remained lifelong friends.   Mom was the last survivor, but memories of all of them live on in each of their children.  After business college she married Kent Holen Jr, another South HS '37 grad, at Fort Snelling Chapel on October 30, 1942.  They lived in Nyack NY where he was stationed until WWII ended.  Margo was born in NY in August 1943 and Kent was born in MN in January, 1946. 


Arlene was employed as the Sherburne County Selective Service Clerk for almost 20 years. Then, she and Berdine Lilja, a fellow "Gotta' Cop a Guy" gal, created Carousel Gift Stores in Elk River and Rogers.   Her volunteer life in Elk River was full and active: Cub Scout den mother, President of the American Legion Auxiliary, Worthy Matron of Eastern Star, Welcome Wagon lady, Elk River Chamber of Commerce, CAER volunteer, more than 25 years serving on the Guardian Angels Housing Board, Otsego Heritage Commission, mother to two American Field Service exchange students (Maria from Italy and Jannie from South Africa), and coordinator of all AFS families in the northern suburbs for at least ten more years.  She was thankful to travel on four continents visiting several international students.  


Dad died when Mom was 56 and, true to form, she remained at once a joiner and a loner.  Mom loved Elk River, all of her friends, her social activities, and she shared her artistic flair for painting, needlework, music, drama, reading, writing poetry, . . .  with all of us.  She resided alone, blind for much of the time, in a somewhat isolated location on the Mississippi River celebrating life, nature, and solitude into her 97th year.  Her lifestyle reflected both self-frugality and generosity towards others.


In 2016 she moved, not voluntarily, to Guardian Angels by the Lake in Elk River.   In 2018 her final home became Valley View Care Center in Houston MN.  Mom came to say of both places, "I like this house!  The people are so nice."  Memorials would be welcomed at either of these wonderful senior centers: Guardian Angels by the Lake, 13439 185th Ln NW, Elk River, MN 55330 or Valley View Health Care, 510 East Cedar St, Houston, MN 55943.  We thank her neighbors and care-givers so much for loving Mom all these years.


Arlene was preceded in death by her husband Kent Holen in 1975.  Survivors include: daughter Margo Dinneen (husband Jon Zoller) of Prior Lake, MN, son Kent (Cheryl) Holen of Houston, MN;  granddaughters: Heather (Nathan) Grawe of Northfield, MN, Karalee (Kent) Tollakson of Amery, WI; and six great-grandchildren: Addison and Keaton of Amery and Hannah, Toby, Caleb, and Noah of Northfield.


Her ashes will be scattered by her family according to her wishes.  We will celebrate her life forever!

A Memorial Tree was planted for Arlene
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Cremation Society of Minnesota