Arlene Lee

Arlene Hazel (Klingbeil) Lee died at Sanford Medical Center on Sunday, August 23, 2020, at age 91. She was born January 3, 1929, to William and Hilda (Johnson) Klingbeil in a log house on Walker Brook Road in Clearwater County, MN. There was a full-blown blizzard taking place, so she had to be delivered by her grandmother, Anna Johnson. Arlene was baptized in the Clearwater Lutheran Church in Shevlin and confirmed in the Pinewood Lutheran Church. She attended a one room country school in East Pinewood and graduated from Bemidji High School in 1946.Arlene married Richard (Dick) Lee in 1947 at the Lutheran church in Hibbing, MN, when they eloped. They lived in Bemidji where they raised three children—Jerry, Kathy, and Rick. She was a stay-at-home mom and enjoyed taking part in family activities. After her husband’s death, she worked for School District 31 as a special education para-professional for 13 years. She was beloved by all the children lucky enough to have Arlene as their special helper. After her retirement, she was a part-time nanny for the Mark and Amy Thorson family. Arlene was an active member of the community, serving on many organizations. She was a member of the Presbyterian Church, serving as an Elder and a Deacon. She was a Cub Scout den mother and Brownie Scout leader at Lincoln School, and she served on Beltrami County Nursing Service Board (Past President), Long Lake Association, Turtle River Cemetery Committee and Citizens Action Committee. She was treasurer of Turtle River Township for more than 25 years. Arlene enjoyed time with her family, the outdoors, Long Lake living, fishing, playing cards with friends, dancing, collecting old things, rock-hounding with her husband and, of course, high school wrestling, having raised Bemidji High School’s first two state champions—Jerry and Rick.  She always won at cribbage, and she loved the color purple. She is survived by her son Jerry (Elizabeth) Lee, Ironton, MN; daughter Kathy (Dr. Hal) Bruyere, Port Charlotte, FL; daughter-in-law Barb (Dave) Schueppert, Bemidji; special friends Joel and Kathy Berglund, Bemidji; 8 grand children; 16 great grandchildren; 3 great-great grandchildren; sister Marilyn (Dick) Zeman, Bagley, MN; brothers Robert (Shirley) Klingbeil, Stillwater, MN, and Dennis (Jan) Klingbeil, Schertz, TX; and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband, son Rick, mother and father, brothers Duane Klingbeil , Fargo, ND, and Ronald (Vonnie) Klingbeil, Topeka, KS, and father- and mother-in-law Simon and Leora (Edmonds) Lee. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Arlene will be interred next to her husband at South Arm Cemetery in Turtle River Township. Messages of condolence may be left at

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