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Arlene Harvey-Ferrer - January 31, 2014

Morning dawned early for Arlene Harvey-Ferrer on Jan. 31, 2014. She awoke refreshed, happy and pain-free for the first time in years. Arlene died and woke up in heaven.

Born April 18, 1943, in Imperial, Neb., to Jim (O.C.) and Esther Miller Harvey, Arlene was known by several names: Arnie, Aunt Arnie, Arlene, and to Olive Delight—her older sister—by names probably left unmentioned.

Her early years were spent on the farm southwest of Holyoke in the Pleasant Valley area, but in 1954, the Harvey family moved to town and opened up an honest-to-goodness old-time soda shop. The Sweet Shop, with its cherry phosphates, Yum-Yum sandwiches and lemon pies topped with mile-high meringue, kept Jim, Esther and Olive content, but Arlene had her mind set on a career in health care.

She became a student at the prestigious and ground-breaking nursing aide training program B.O.N.A. (an acronym for “Bunch of Nurses’ Aides”). She worked for the hospital for many years, eventually heading the financial department of Melissa Memorial Hospital. In 2000, Arlene married Willy Ferrer.

Just as God called Abraham to a country unknown to him, God called Arlene to a place she had never heard of. She did as Abraham did: packed and hit the road. In Grants, N.M., she found her Canaan. Just as God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, he changed Arlene.

People at home knew her as someone who was a little ... stubborn. God said she was determined. People understood she could be intractable; God called her faithful. Then God gave Arlene a mission field of wide-eyed, noisy children and women who needed to see what love looked like when it was offered unconditionally.

She loved Nebraska mornings, watching the mist rise on Big Mac Lake, and New Mexico sunsets where the entire sky seemed set ablaze. She loved Diet Pepsi, spicy foods, turquoise jewelry, country music and stray “anythings.”

She loved her family too, both the ones she was born to and the ones she collected. Though she never gave birth to a child, she adored all children. Especially dear to her, along with her biological nieces, nephews and cousins, were the families of Donna and LeRoy Lutze and Mark and Laurie Brown.

She loved her church, her pastors and friends, her Sunday dinner klatch with Lenore Cain and Diane and Don Sweeney, and—most of all—she loved God.

Arlene’s view of life was simple; she lived by four rules: If it’s hungry, feed it. If it’s crying, put your arms around it. If it’s cranky, put it down for a nap. If it’s lost, point it to Jesus.

Arlene was preceded in death by her parents and sister; her dear aunt Grace Blanke; nephew, Thomas Lutze; niece, Christie Lutze-Bishop; cousin, Chad Harvey; and brother-in-love, LeRoy Lutze.

She leaves her sister, cousins, nieces, friends and adopted family to celebrate her life well-lived.

A memorial service will be held in Holyoke at a later date.