Arlene Lecander

Thursday, December 14, 2023 11:45 pm

Arlene Lecander, 84, of Decorah, passed away peacefully the evening of Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023, at her “winter” apartment in Marion, Iowa, surrounded by family, including all four of her children.

A Celebration of Life will be held in the spring in Decorah.

Arlene Schaefer Lecander, the daughter of Edgar and Ida (Johnson) Schaefer, was born on Sept. 19, 1939, in New Richmond, Wis. She attended Menomonie High School where she met the love of her life when she was just 16. Ron Lecander was the new boy in the senior class, and it didn’t take long for them to hit it off. They married in 1959, and lived a nomadic life between college towns in Oregon, Idaho, Ohio, and Ames, Iowa, while Ron completed his PhD. They settled in Decorah in 1969.

Arlene spent most of her time as a homemaker, but also worked for many years at the Decorah Public Library. Arlene and Ron had three biological children Tim, Terry, Jolene, and one adopted daughter, Sarah. In the late 1970s, Arlene could be seen on a moped zipping around the streets of Decorah, looking for one of her teenagers who was out waaay too late. Word would  spread: “Terry, we saw your mom. You’re in real trouble!”

Arlene also loved to travel. The family spent six months together in northern Italy in 1977. Arlene drove their tiny Fiat coupe over much of northern Europe with three of the four children while Ron was busy teaching. In their 80s, Ron and Arlene, relived those days by driving a rental car around Norway and Sweden using only a Norwegian-language GPS, terrifying their children back home.

Arlene and Ron lived for 10 years in Rochester, Minn., but returned to the Decorah area to build their dream home: a log cabin in the woods in rural Bluffton Township. Arlene was a good sport (and hardy!) while Ron and his son, Tim, spent two years stacking and chinking the logs. Later Arlene joked about how they lived in the basement that first winter, with only a blue tarp as a roof over their heads.

Arlene and Ron were members of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Decorah from 1969 until they moved to Rochester in 1984. She was also a devoted member of “Menders,” a group of Decorah women who met every Thursday afternoon from the time their children were young and there was “mending” to do, and for the next 45 years.

Arlene is survived by her loving husband of 64 years, Ronald, and four children: son Tim (June Melby) of Decorah; son Terry (Jess) of Silvis, Ill.; daughter Jolene Allen (Dan) of Marion; and Sarah Lecander (Milan, Ill.);  grandchildren Breana, Niki, Megan, Aaron, Jonathan, Taylor, Tianna, and Derrick; and great-grandchildren Lily, Daniel, Ella, Wren, Harper, and Dain.

She was preceded in death by her parents.

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