Arlene Hanberg

Obituary of Arlene Dolores Hanberg

You would always find Arlene with a quick smile and a giggle. She was her daddy’s girl, reflecting his sense of humor and personality. From watching and learning her hard-working mother, Arlene imprinted her same work ethic that grew along with her from a young age. In the truest sense, Arlene was the baby of the family, completing their family of five. She looked up to oldest sister Mildred (Age 16 when Arlene was born) and enjoyed mischief and merriment with middle sister TreVere (Age 14 when Arlene was born).

Arlene D. Shaw (later Hanberg) was an unexpected surprise, born on October 19th, 1935 to parents Arnold and Berlie Shaw. Due to the startling age gap between Arlene and her sisters, she grew up nearly as an only child. Mildred and TreVere were soon out of the house, and hitting milestones in life: working, dating and marriage, and becoming mothers themselves. As Arlene grew up, she was given a first-hand view of two of the earliest entrepreneurs when her parents both built and operated The Ashford Drive In. From the start, the Drive In was the place to be, and a beloved stop on the map for all who passed through the area in the rural Mt. Rainier mountain town of Ashford. Arlene studied her hard-working mom and dad both at the register and at the grill, and was soon serving up her own hand-spun ice cream shakes along with rich pies and greasy burgers. From her years spent working long shifts at the drive in, Arlene collected excellent customer service skills which served her well throughout her working career.

Born into a music-loving family, Arlene grew up listening to Arnold play the violin. A chance encounter with a piano salesman led to the family gaining a gorgeous baby grande piano. Arlene spent countless hours playing her piano, and was also self-taught on the accordion. One of her treasured memories is playing the piano at her sister TreVere’s wedding. The baby grande piano is a cherished family heirloom and still remains in the family today. Arlene passed on her love of music to her children, and son Glenn fell in love with playing the guitar, and has started and joined countless bands over the years. Songs and music stayed with Arlene even through the later years in life. Even just months ago, she loved joining in on sing-a-longs (and always sang louder when Blue Moon was played). Always an enthusiastic supporter of the arts, Arlene thoroughly enjoyed attending Broadway plays and musicals at the Paramount and 5th Ave in Seattle. Usually in attendance was close girlfriend Mo, and years later Kathy (daughter) and Elisabeth (granddaughter) would join in carrying on the tradition.

One of Arlene’s life mile-stones includes joining the professional working world, where she was hired as a Teller at the National Bank of Washington. She had a mind for numbers and finance, and quickly received promotion after promotion. Arlene credits her polished customer service skills at the bank from her earlier days of working at the Drive-In. While working at the bank, Arlene befriended two co-workers (Florence and Marilyn) who quickly transformed from colleagues to co-conspirators in fun and trouble. These three carried their deep friendship through the rest of their lives. The next opportunity led Arlene to Puget Sound Bank, and finally to the Minuteman Credit Union on JBLM. She continued managing this location for 20 years until her retirement. Arlene’s co-workers and customers always remembered her fondly, and left a mark on all those she encountered.

Arlene continued to hone her childhood skills and talents that later served her well in adulthood. While riding the bus to school as a kid, she hung with the boys and was elected scorekeeper while they played poker. No doubt this led to Arlene’s mind for numbers, but also sparked a love for card playing. Later in life, she joined several card groups, and along with Dave, loved playing Hand and Foot, Bunco and The Ponytail. The card groups spent years playing together, rotating houses and hosts through the years. Arlene and Dave befriended several couples in the group

who became travel buddies. A favorite activity in retirement was traveling in their motorhome on countless roadtrips with friends. They all agreed their six week trip to Alaska in their 34 foot motorhome as one of their favorites. Tom and Betty, another beloved couple in Dave and Arlene’s life, often joined them in the summers at the National Guard Beach on American Lake. The couples would fish, find adventure, and…you guessed! They all played cards late into the night.

Coupled with the love of her life, David, Arlene couldn’t be happier. They built a wonderful life together, rooted in commitment to each other and a deep love for family. Between them, Dave and Arlene had seven children, 11 grandchildren, and over 20 great-grandchildren. Arlene cherished her relationships with everyone counted in these groups, and was always teasing back and forth and exchanging witty banter. Her presence was a gentle, warm hug and all were lucky to call her a dear friend.

On September 12, 2023 Arlene could’t wait any longer to join Dave-who no doubt had a game of cards ready for her. Left here on earth missing her deeply are their kids and partners: Glenn McCarty (Deni Cole), Kathy Heerema, Dennis Hanberg (Cathy), Mindy, and Greg Hanberg (Greta). Arlene’s military memorial service will be held on November 10th at 10:00am at the Tahoma National Cemetery in Covington, WA. Please join us for a celebration of her life at Real Hope Church in Lacey, WA at 2:00pm

Share Your Memory of