Arlene M. Blank, age 79, of Savoy IL, and formerly of Winona, passed away July 5, 2020, after a brief battle with COVID-19.
Arlene was born in Winona, MN, to Richard and Edna (Beck) Blank. She was a student at St. Stanislaus Kostka Grade School and Cotter High School in Winona before earning a degree in History Education at the College of Saint Teresa in Winona; a Library Science minor at Winona State College; a Specialist Degree in Media at Mankato State College, Mankato MN; and also worked towards a Doctorate in Education at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.
Arlene loved to go fishing with her father, enjoyed summers at the family cottage on the Mississippi River, and likely read every romance novel ever written. She was quick to share stories about her beloved mother and growing up amongst a large extended family on the east side of Winona.
Arlene’s lifelong passion for reading led her to work for the Winona Public Library and as a school librarian in both Colfax, WI and Evansville, WI. A stint as the wrestling coach in Colfax proudly earned her the nickname, “The Bear.” She dedicated 38 years to Unit 4 School District in Champaign IL and retired in 2002 as Assistant Superintendent for Support Services. Following retirement, Arlene served on the school board where she continued to mentor many administrators and educators. While Arlene cherished her Minnesota roots, she leaves behind a network of many loving friends in her adopted home of Illinois. She was a devoted Catholic and long-time member of St. Matthew Parish in Champaign and donated generously to many educational and humanitarian causes.
Arlene was preceded in death by both parents as well as many aunts and uncles. She is survived by her siblings in Winona MN: Robert (Kathi) Blank, Mary (Michael) Rymarkiwiecz, James (Sandra) Blank; nephews Daniel Blank and Eric (Carla) & Nathan (Liliana) Hoover; nieces Sally (Gary Lindberg) & Bridget Blank and Susan Rymarkiewicz; great-nephew Reece, great-niece Rilynn and many cousins.
A funeral liturgy will be held Saturday, July 18, 2020, at St. Matthew Catholic Parish in Champaign, IL (www.stmatt.net).
A visitation will be held at Watkowski-Mulyck Funeral Home's new location of 376 East Sarnia Street in Winona, on Friday, July 24, 2020, from 9 AM until a funeral service at 10 AM. Deacon Justin Green will officiate. Arlene will be laid to rest in St. Mary's Cemetery, Winona.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The family respectfully asks that all in attendance at the service or visitation to wear a mask and adhere to strict social distancing guidelines.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to the staff of Carle Foundation Hospital in Savoy, IL, for the care they provided Arlene.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Cotter Schools (www.cotterschools.org), the Alumnae Association of the College of Saint Teresa (www.cstalums.org), or a charity of the donor’s choosing.
Online condolences or memories may be left for Arlene’s family at www.watkowski-mulyck.com.
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