Arlene Pearl (Watson) Neisinger, 78, died peacefully in her sleep on the morning of February 7, 2013, at the Vashon Island home of her daughter, Lisa. The last great lesson she taught us was how to walk beside a loved one towards that good night. Her sweet spirit never wavered, and it was an honor and privilege to care for her.
A life-long resident of Monroe, Arlene was born on April 10, 1934 to Leonard and Marcella Watson. Born with a severe birth defect, she was literally a walking miracle. She was a testament to her father’s perseverance, as he took her to many specialists before finding a country doctor who would operate. Her parents were told to take her home and love her, as she would probably not live long. With the love and support of her family, she proved the doctors wrong. Living with this disability gave Arlene a special compassion for others, especially children.
Arlene graduated from Monroe High School in 1952, and her school friends still talk of her gentle and sweet nature. Arlene married Frank Neisinger, Jr. in 1955 and settled down on South Kelsey Street. Frank and Arlene completed their family with daughters Lisa and Lori.
Although quiet and reserved, Arlene made friends wherever she went. She had a true servant heart, and was always quick to put on a pot of coffee for visitors and tempt her grandkids with pancakes or fried chicken. Arlene volunteered at the Monroe Food Bank for 26 years, leaving only to care for Frank. She considered it a great honor to be able to help others.
Arlene loved to give gifts and found great pleasure in spoiling her grandkids at Christmas and birthdays. She had an extra-special relationship with grandson Tyler, who was the first to call her his Grammy. She spent many evenings reading him to sleep. Arlene was most happy when holding one of her grandbabies. In her last days, she always had a smile, a wave, and a “love you too” for granddaughter Emily, who could be counted on to lend a hand to make her grammy comfortable.
Frank preceded Arlene in death in 2006. She spent the next seven years living with her daughters in Monroe and on Vashon Island.
Arlene is survived by her sister, Marcella Hussong; brother, Don Watson; daughters, Lisa Bruce and Lori Strickland; grandchildren, Lindsey Ono (Estevao), Kari Johnson (Stephen), Emily Bruce and Tyler Strickland; and great-grandchildren, Cohan and Sadie Johnson.
The family would like to thank Providence Hospice and the team of private caregivers for their expertise and kindness.