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Arlene L. Jones

December 21, 2020

Service will be held at a later date.

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Arlene Louise Jones (nee Haendel) was born in Cincinnati on December 23, 1940 to the late Dorothy (nee Gohs) and Albert Haendel. She grew up in Clifton and attended both Fairview Elementary and Hughes High School. To hear her tell it, from the time she was a child, she was crazy about babies and couldn’t wait to be old enough to babysit. Her devotion to taking care of children would last her entire life.

Beautiful inside and out, Arlene enjoyed a modeling career that included teaching modeling classes, and culminated in appearing in a TV commercial with Mickey Rooney. Her position as a receptionist at Sive Advertising put her in an ideal position to talk to the anxious children (whose “stage moms” had hauled them in) and gently calm their nerves. A natural with kids, she was soon given the responsibility of casting for toy ads, including the ad for a new product from Kenner – the Easy Bake Oven.

On a Saturday night in February of 1964, Arlene met Roger at a dance. Their first date was the next day – she had invited him to attend church with her. They were married in that same church, Lutheran Church of the Cross, in 1965.

Arlene left her employment at Sive Advertising in 1967 when her first daughter was born. Two more daughters followed. She relished being a stay-at-home mom and stated many times that she would never have it any other way. When her kids were grown, she began babysitting in her home. Taking a cue from one of her favorite people, Mr. Rogers, she always made sure that every child who entered her home knew they were special. Although we didn’t think it was possible for her to enjoy a title more than “Mom,” it became clear that such a title did indeed exist: “Grandma.” As grandchildren entered the picture, her home suddenly became a place with different rules (or lack thereof), where the cookie jar was bottomless, desserts could be eaten before dinner plates were empty, and the candy supply was abundant.

We can’t talk about Arlene without talking about what a “crafty lady” she was. Crocheting, sewing, painting, quilting — she enjoyed and excelled in them all. Mom helped with countless school projects and fashioned numerous costumes. One of her favorite places was her craft room, where she could spend hours working on her latest project. One of the pieces that she was most proud of is a beautiful quilt for which she won a ribbon at the Kenton County Fair. Completely hand-sewn, it features her favorite Bible verses which she carefully embroidered.

Which brings us to a facet of Arlene that we simply can’t miss. We can’t talk about her without talking about her tremendous faith. We have never seen anyone who enjoyed reading the Bible and devotionals more. One of her favorite books was “Jesus Calling,” a daily devotional with Bible passages for each day. She made frequent gifts of that book, wanting to share the inspiration she found in it with others. Her giving spirit was also evident in the basket ministry she created. Arlene would buy baskets, paint them in cheerful colors, and fill them with trinkets and treasures (as well as practical items) for the purpose of bringing someone a smile. The Christ Hospital chaplain’s office and several local nursing homes were the recipients of these baskets. To the folks there she gave only two instructions: pass out a basket to anyone who “needs something to brighten up their day,” and call when you need more baskets. She absolutely loved when the requests came in for more baskets, and she especially loved hearing about the people whose day was given a lift by one of these gifts from the heart.

Always humble, Arlene would say we’re exaggerating, but she was also quite a wordsmith. She was a master of word jumble puzzles and a fierce competitor at Words with Friends. She even once wrote a letter to one of our teachers that not only rhymed, it could be sung to the tune of “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” — Really!

Only someone with a brilliant sense of humor could write a letter like that. If you know Roger, you know that a sense of humor is a requirement for anyone living under the same roof with him. Arlene knew that better than anyone. After years of joking that she deserved a medal for all the time she spent putting up with him and his antics, imagine her surprise when he made a special presentation to her at their golden anniversary party – a medal. Arlene always talked about how special that day was. Not because of the long-awaited medal (although that certainly helped), but because it was a day she spent surrounded by family and lifelong friends who were so dear to her.

Arlene was always the happiest at family gatherings when everyone was together. To her, family was the heart of everything, and she was certainly the heart of our family. “You’re just like your mother” is a declaration that can elicit varied responses. But for us, it’s the best compliment we could ever get. We love you, Mom. We will all miss your smile, your infectious laugh, and most of all, your kindness. Thanks for everything.

Arlene is survived by her husband of 55 years, Roger R. Jones, three daughters: Andrea (Jeff) Benjamin, Tammi (Scott) Sizemore, and Elizabeth “Betsy” Jones; four grandchildren: Cody Benjamin, Tori Benjamin, Logan Sizemore, and Sawyer Sizemore; also numerous nieces and nephews and many cherished friends. Preceded in death by her parents and brother Glenn (Sharon) Haendel; Passed away peacefully on December 21 at the age of 79. She will be missed by many, but not forgotten.

Due to the pandemic, a celebration of life will be planned at a later date when family and friends can reminisce together safely.