Arlene Anne Rea (nee Sandvik), 95, of Elgin, passed away peacefully in her sleep on May 1, 2019 at Alexian Brothers Hospice in Elk Grove Village. She was the only child born to the late Anton and Agnes Sandvik on December 31, 1923. Raised in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago, she attended and graduated from Tuley High School where she excelled academically and prepared for a secretarial career through courses in typing and stenography.
While working at Thomas Hair Company on Chicago Street, Arlene’s co-worker, Esther, requested that Arlene write letters to her nephew, Joe, who was in the army serving overseas during WWII. A romance blossomed within the pages and, upon Joe’s discharge in November 1945, the pair began dating and were married at St. Francis Xavier Church on April 12, 1947.
Their honeymoon on a Greyhound bus to California was the beginning of a lifetime filled with adventures in travel. Arlene was the chief planner and navigator for all family vacation car and camping trips which crossed numerous state lines and generated many cherished family memories. Years later, Arlene and Joe became seasoned world travelers visiting numerous countries. Ever proud of her Norwegian heritage, Arlene especially enjoyed a Scandinavian tour where she met and visited with her father’s relatives in Bergen, Norway.
While she loved to travel, meet new people and have new experiences, Arlene was equally content with her life at home. She viewed her most important roles to be as a wife and mother, and even though she did work at several jobs outside of the home over the years, none took precedence over these roles. Arlene was the chief financial officer of her family and, having grown up during the Great Depression, had learned the art of self-sacrifice, making do with what you have and how to stretch a dollar.
Arlene enjoyed many activities and pasttimes. She was a consummate hostess and enjoyed throwing parties and gatherings for family and friends. Her cooking, and especially, baking skills have been enjoyed by three generations and her recipe for crescent cookies is a treasured family heirloom. From an early age, Arlene developed a life-long love of reading with a special passion in later years for a good mystery novel. She loved a good crossword puzzle and was a formidable opponent in Scrabble. She enjoyed playing cards and belonged to both a women’s poker and canasta club from which she cultivated many life-long friendships. Arlene was a skillful sewer and fashioned many clothes for her daughters as well as their Barbies.
Arlene’s commitment to her Catholic faith was unwavering. She accepted hardships as they came and never complained or wanted for what she didn’t have. She was grateful for the many ways God had blessed her life in spite of the challenges she encountered over the years.
Arlene is survived by her husband, Joseph, and was a loyal and loving wife for 72 years. She was the loving mother of Dianne Soss, Barbara (Gary) Cox, Julie (Paul) Crow, Nancy Rock and Sharon (Bob) Rosenberger. She was a cherished grandma of 10 and a loving great-grandma to 17. Arlene was a devoted friend to many. Her love, quiet strength, advice, support, and laughter will be greatly missed but never forgotten by those blessed with her presence in their lives. We love you, Mom.
Visitation 9:00a.m. until time of mass 10:00a.m. at St. Laurence Catholic Church, 225 Jewett St, Elgin. Interment St Michael the Archangel Cemetery.