Alletia Irene Simons, age 82, died peacefully at Grays Harbor Community Hospital in Aberdeen, Wash., on May 26, 2018, following a stroke.
Alletia was born to Necia Irene (Wall) and George Faust Arnold on Dec. 19, 1935, in the township of Sharon Center, Ohio. She was the middle of a family of five children. Alletia moved with her family to Selah, Wash., in 1948, followed by a move to south Montesano, Wash., in 1949, and eventually to the Wynooche Valley where they lived in the J. H. Taylor farmhouse on the Wynooche Home Farm operated by Robert Taylor. Robert happened to have a grand-nephew named Bobbie Simons, who fell for the beautiful high school senior, Alletia Arnold. “Bobbie”—Robert D. Simons—and Alletia married shortly after her graduation from Montesano High School in 1953. Their wedding was held on June 27, 1953, at his sister’s home in Shelton.
Bob and Alletia’s first residence was a 28-foot trailer on his mother’s property a short way up the Black Creek Road, where their eldest daughter, Susan, joined them in 1954. Bob was drafted, and Alletia followed him to California and Colorado with year old Susan. Bob was able to get an honorable hardship discharge, and the family returned to Black Creek where they purchased the Birdwell homestead. While Bob worked in various local dairies, Alletia was a full time mother. By the time she was 23, Alletia had three daughters: Susan, then Maralee in 1956 and Becky in 1959. In the 1960s Alletia sewed and sold Barbie doll clothes; painted ceramics; and helped Bob with any and all farm projects including most of one summer building fence. She sewed many of her girls’ clothes and sewed beautiful dresses for herself that she entered in Grange sewing contests. Alletia became the Wynooche 4-H Club and Sewing leader. During the time her daughters were in 4-H, Alletia attended most Panhandle Lake 4-H Camps as the Wynooche 4-H Club’s adult chaperone, and during one year was the director of the entire 4-H Camp. She was an active member of the Wynooche Woman’s Club for many years, and also a long-time member and treasurer of the Wynooche Grange #801 until it disbanded. Alletia was very supportive of her daughters’ band/choir, church and 4-H involvements. She was active in the Montesano United Methodist Church in the 1990s; and for the last 18 years the Montesano Presbyterian Church. She loved to cook and bake for church events, was involved in a Women’s Bible Study, the Prayer Shawl Ministry, and hosted events in her home. Alletia was known for her wonderful pies, cakes and cookies—with her wild blackberry pies selling for up to $200 at church and family picnic auctions. She was known for her volunteer work on Fridays at the Montesano Food Bank where she always brought cookies to share with the other volunteers.
In the early 1970s Alletia went to work at Mary’s Draperies in Central Park where she learned to make custom draperies. Alletia and Bob then started the successful Old Mill Craft Custom Draperies business in their home where she made draperies, took orders for commercial window coverings and both together would do the installations. Highlights of her 50 years of marriage to Bob included many vacation adventures, including trips to Kauai, Wisconsin, Canada, Austria/Europe, and one to Ohio and beyond to pick up a school bus for Montesano. After Bob died on April 3, 2004, Alletia continued to travel with friends, going on tours to New York, Ireland, and a cruise to the Mexican Rivera.
About four months after Bob’s death, Alletia met the second great love of her life—also Bob—Robert Shay. They met at the Wynooche Cemetery where each tended their spouses’ graves. They loved and depended on one another and did everything together: traveled, visited casinos, and attended picnics & car races. Since they each had their own homes, Bob and Alletia worked hard side by side to do the yard and maintenance work on both homes. Alletia had all her own yard equipment and did everything from weed-whacking to using a wood splitter. She was even known to do some of her own plumbing, and occasionally helped others work on their vehicles. Even at age 82 she could out-work her daughters and their husbands! Alletia lived her life to the fullest while helping everyone around her.
Alletia is survived by her dear friend of 14 years, Robert Shay; her daughters and sons-in-law: Susan Gurney (Mike); Maralee Murray (Tom); and Becky Wright (Bill), all of Washington; and her granddaughters, Camille (Gurney) Devlaeminck (Alex) of Oregon, and Brenda Murray of Washington. Also surviving are Alletia’s siblings, Donna Luark and Marvin Arnold of Washington; and Loretta Hall of Texas, as well as several nieces and nephews. Her husband preceded her in death, as well as her parents and her brother, Victor Arnold, who died the day before Alletia.
Donations in Alletia’s memory are suggested to the Montesano Presbyterian Church, 201 McBryde East, P.O. Box 110, Montesano, WA 98563 and to the Montesano Food Bank, 222 N. Main, Montesano, WA 98563.
A celebration of life service will be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5, 2018, at the Montesano Presbyterian Church, to be followed by a buffet in the church fellowship hall. Pastor Steve Fischback officiating. A graveside service will be held the same day at 11 a.m. at Wynooche Cemetery. Arrangements are by Harrison Family Mortuary of Montesano. To share memories or to leave a condolence for the family please visit www.harrisonfamilymortuary.com.